Abrasion Resistant Ultrahydrophobic Coatings

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Wind turbine systems are increasingly being installed in extreme environments, which decrease the systems¿ efficiency and lifetimes. Two major issues affecting wind energy efficiency are blade fouling (from ice, salt, bugs, etc.) and damage from the harsh environment (corrosion, pitting from blowing sand, etc). For example, a 5% ice accumulation on the leading edge of the turbine can result in a 20% decrease in power production, and the repair of corroded systems can result in weeks of power loss. In order to overcome these problems, this project will develop a multifunctional coating system that could be applied over turbine blades and towers, regardless of material composition. Such a coating system also would allow for on site maintenance as necessary to continue optimum operation of the wind farm. In Phase I, a unique ultrahydrophobic coating technology will be combined with an abrasion resistant coating technology. Initial testing will involve screening multiple formulas and coating types, using both contact angle and qualitative abrasion-resistant testing on subscale samples. After down-selecting to the best 2-4 candidates, the formulas and control coatings will be applied to gel coated laminates and evaluated for abrasion resistance, contact angle, and adhesion to the laminate. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Abrasion resistant ultrahydrophobic coatings should find use in the wind turbine market, which is projected to have an average annual growth rate of 24% over the next 2 years. An even larger use for this type of coating would be in the maritime industry, as coatings for ship hulls, pilings, and other offshore structures such as drilling rigs. The marine antifouling market should become a $1.3 billion a year market, as tin and heavy-metal-based protective coatings are phased out.