US Air Force to test Cleanshell CB
5th September 2012, Perth, Australia and Greer, SC, USA
Reactive Surface Treatment (RST) technology provider Alexium announced today that it has been awarded a $200,000 contract by the US Air Force Research Laboratory to demonstrate its Cleanshell CB treatments for chemical and biological protection applications. The contract follows two other purchase orders by the US Army in the last twelve months and is expected to further validate RST technology for defence applications.
According to Alexium, an estimated 200,000 chemical and biological protection suits are purchased annually by the US military for programs such as JPACE, JC3 and JSLIST and over 4.5 million JSLIST suits alone have been sold globally since 1997, representing product sales for JSLIST suits in excess of $800 million.
Alexium’s Cleanshell CB repellence treatment is targeted specifically to the treatment of the outer shell fabric of CB protection ensembles and has been optimized to provide excellent water and oil repellence. It is also said to have dramatically increased repellence of Chemical Warfare Agent simulants.
The contract was awarded to further demonstrate Cleanshell CB on a range of different fabric types and to develop additional performance capabilities over the ensuing months. The work will include testing against a range of ‘live’ chemicals, such as Soman and Mustard nerve agents, on a number of Cleanshell CB treated fabrics.
New reactive particles produced by the Air Force Research Laboratory as part of Alexium’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Air Force, will also be incorporated in the fabrics for testing, including against airborne chemical warfare agents.
“Alexium is eager to transition the technology to the next stage for defence applications. Whilst the defence sector pathway can include extensive material testing, product testing, certifications and field trials, we see this project as an important catalyst to more rapidly qualify and field our protective treatments – which will position the company for larger procurement opportunities,” said Stefan Susta, COO and Executive Director of Alexium.
The contract in the defence sector follows the recently announced Duro contract in the commercial sector for fire retardant nylon treatments and just last week Alexium announced it had successfully demonstrated its RST treatments for functionalizing temperature-sensitive fibres such as high-performance polyolefins to add new properties such as antimicrobial, adhesion promotion, and flame retardancy.
Alexium holds proprietary patent applications for a process developed initially by the US Department of Defense, which allows for the surface modification and attachment of nano particles or multiple chemical functional groups to surfaces or substrates to provide functions such as water proofing, oil proofing, anti-microbial, non-stick and UV protection. Applications under development include but are not limited to textiles, paints, packaging, glass and building materials.
Author: Billy Hunter