Durable Hydrophobic Barrier Coating for the Remote Minehunting Tow Cable
Navy SBIR FY2013.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2013.1
Topic No.: N131-035
Topic Title: Durable Hydrophobic Barrier Coating for the Remote Minehunting Tow Cable
Proposal No.: N131-035-0498
Firm: Luna Innovations Incorporated
1 Riverside Circle
Suite 400
Roanoke, Virginia 24016-4962
Contact: Adam Goff
Phone: (434) 220-2513
Web Site: www.lunainnovations.com
Abstract: The tow cable strands used to tow the AQS-20A from the RMMV are made from Nitronic 50, an austenitic stainless steel that, under normal circumstances, exhibits excellent corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. Unfortunately, the cables are experiencing early life corrosion problems due to salt water deposit buildup that occurs over repeated operations and subsequent system stowage. Because of the difficulty and logistics associated with retrieving and storing the RMS on the LCS platform, freshwater rinsing and other cleaning methods are unacceptable. Therefore, Luna Innovations and its team will apply a sol-gel derived, mechanically-durable and optically-transparent, hydrophobic coating that has excellent watershedding properties and that is easily applied to RMS tow cables in a thin and low-cost package. The primary function of the coating will be to shed salt water through its inherent hydrophobic nature as the RMS is retrieved from the sea. This capability will drastically reduce the propensity of salt accumulation on the stainless steel tow cable assembly. In addition, Luna will include corrosion inhibiting compounds and/or pigments to provide a secondary line of defense against corrosion processes.
Benefits: While the primary entry platform for this coating technology is the RMS AQS-20A tow cable, there are numerous other potential commercial applications. Corrosion remains a large and costly problem in the military as well as the commercial sector. The petroleum industry, research institutions, and fishing industry all experience costly repairs and equipment downtime due to corrective maintenance caused by corrosion of marine tow cable equipment. Extending the life of their tow cables by using a long-lasting and robust coating that minimizes the need of reapplication will significantly reduce costs and minimize risk. In addition, the coating could have broader application to tow cables and various metallic ropes used across the construction and industrial markets - both on land and at sea.