Naval Researchers Honored for Nanostructured Coatings

Arlington, VA -- Office of Naval Research Program Officers Dr. Lawrence Kabacoff and Dr. Asuri Vasudevan are co-winners of the second annual Dual Use Science & Technology Achievement Award. The two are being recognized for their work overseeing a successful program to develop "nanostructured" ceramic composite coatings. Director of Defense Research and Engineering Ronald M. Sega will present the award on February 28, 2002.

The Dual Use Science & Technology Achievement Award recognizes successful dual use technology development, and honors those individuals in the Department of Defense responsible for its initiation and execution. Dr. Kabacoff and Dr. Vasudevan directed funding of a program that has produced new wear- and corrosion-resistant coating materials, which already are reducing costs in civilian and military applications. The ceramics-based coating technology can save the armed forces and private industry millions of dollars annually in maintenance and replacement costs by increasing the life of components in ships, aircraft and land vehicles.

To ease industry acceptance of the new coatings, the program's goal was to develop chemical compositions similar to those used in existing coatings. The new materials are "nanostructured" ceramic composites, which can be sprayed onto components using current thermal spray technology. The new composites have structural features smaller than 100 nanometers-several orders of magnitude finer than the microstructures of conventional coating materials. These ultra-fine features dramatically alter the properties of the nanocomposites to enhance wear resistance, bond strength and impact toughness. The new coatings can replace environmentally toxic hexavalent chrome plating, and thus introduce nanoceramics to applications where regular ceramics would normally fail.

The new ceramic composites are available commercially and have been used on Navy surface ships and submarines since 2000. Work continues on evaluating other composites. DoD established the Dual Use Science & Technology program in 1987 to develop technologies that can be used by both the armed forces and private industry. The $3.5 million nanostructured ceramic coatings program was funded equally by ONR and industry. The Dual Use Science & Technology Achievement Award was established in 2001, and provides a $5,000 prize to the winner(s) and $2,500 for a runner-up.

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