Major corrosion problems faced by Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs) in the United States Marine Corps could be solved with polyurea.

As the U.S. Marine Corps looks to extend the AAV, Dr. Mike Roland and Dr. Ray Gamache of the U.S Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have led a study project into how best to shield and prolong the life of these armored vehicles.

Like those NRL is investigating, innovative sustainment concepts enable them to avoid the cost of new design, development, and production of new components. Since the 1990’s the U.S. Marine Corps has been using bolted-on armor to protect their AAVs. This armor is a laminate of high hard steel, rubber, and soft steel coating in the back. The issue is, this armor gets corroded in severe conditions – including exposure to saltwater. 

                                   Amphibious Assault Vehicle  

The corrosion starts at cracks in the paint, which happens due to expanding the different layers within the laminate – which expand and contract independently due to environmental changes.

The NRL states that polyurea will better protect the armor from corrosion by expanding and contracting with it, rather than cracking as paint does. Furthermore, polyurea demonstrated resistance to bullets and blast fragments by taking kinetic energy from the bullet.

By recreating the unique corrosion issues of the Amphibious Assault Vehicles in a lab, the team has concluded that polyurea is a much better product for protecting the armor against corrosion than paint.

“We solved the corrosion problem,” says Dr. Mike Roland of the NRL. “And with a negligible increase in weight, we also provided a higher payload capacity and the potential for better ballistic protection.”

With conventional materials, you can have something that’s stiff but doesn’t stretch much; or you can have something soft, like silly putty, and it stretches a lot. Polyureas can stretch to 10 times their original length, but the force it takes to do that is enormous—so you get extreme toughness. It truly is the best of both worlds!

To find out which polyurea products would work best for your project, ArmorThane recommends contacting them with your details and one of their experts will assist you in finding the best one.

ArmorThane’s polyurea products can be applied directly to steel and offer incredible shore hardness and elongation that is excellent for flexibility and protection against corrosion, impact, and abrasion. Industrial Coatings - How Polyurea Coatings Help Military Vehicles | IXS Coatings

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