Original Date: 09/14/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Powder Painting of Non-Conductive, Composite Materials
Powder painting or coating needs to be applied to a conductive surface to be successful. Typically, the statically- charged powder paint particles will be attracted to and adhere to a grounded, metal part. The part is then cured in an oven to form a permanent paint layer. Cure times must be short enough to cure the paint layer without damaging it, but long enough to allow volatile organic contaminants (VOCs) to escape from the paint. Raytheon Missile Systems Company (RMSC) has expanded this technique by developing a way to apply powder paint to non-conductive, composite materials.
RMSC uses an anti-stat to create a conductive layer on a non-conductive surface. Commonly used anti-stat products include household sprays that remove static from clothing or a computer monitor. After experimenting with water- based, COTS, and other anti-stat/paint materials, RMSC identified a COTS static guard in combination with an epoxy Herberts paint as being the most effective under a wide range of requirements. The Standard Missile program’s dorsal fin, composed of graphite/bismaleimide, was the first component to be painted by using this process. All painted surfaces were then subjected to military specification environmental tests (including salt fog, fluid exposure, and flexibility), and passed.
RMSC’s process for powder painting non-conductive, composite materials has reduced hazardous exposures and wastes; streamlined process steps; decreased cycle times; and produced cost savings. Preliminary estimates based on several prototype dorsal fins indicate a 60% cost savings with the powder paint method compared to wet methods for non-conductive surfaces.
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