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Military weapon systems: New vistas for UV-curable powder coating and robotics

Facing extreme weather conditions, and the possibilities of chemical, biological, and radiological exposures, the US military's weapon systems must have protective coatings that can withstand these assaults. Corrosion resistance plays a crucial role in overall maintenance of these systems. This article discusses the military's use, and nonuse, of powder coatings, with special emphasis on new developments in ultraviolet-curable powder coatings and the use of robotics. The article describes an ambitious ongoing project for powder coating an array of military weapon systems.

The US military depends on the effectiveness and reliability of the various weapon systems they use every day. These systems must function as intended in temperature and humidity extremes, as well as in corrosive atmospheres, blowing dust and sand, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and even possibly in chemical, biological, and radiological exposures. Practically all of these weapon systems have some form of protective coating on them. For the most part, these coatings protect metal surfaces such as steel, aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. Newer and more modern systems are now using composite materials in greater amounts than ever before. Specialty coatings provide other special benefits such as low infrared (IR) or radar signature, and chemical and biological resistance to name just a few.

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