New resin formulations significantly decrease worker exposure to HAP emissions, while meeting critical military requirements for composite materials.  

 The military is rapidly moving to more and more advanced composite materials that offer great advantages over traditional materials such as steel. But as these new lightweight and high-performance composite structures are exploited for military applications, the environmental consequences associated with their applications need to be reduced. Current liquid resins are a significant source of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions. As a result, extensive and costly measures are required to protect workers from being exposed to these harmful chemicals.

Dr. John La Scala and his colleagues demonstrated and validated low-HAP resins for the manufacture and repair of composite components used in military applications. These components include ballistic hardtops for the Marine Corps Humvees, hoods for Army vehicles, and an F-22 canopy cover for the Air Force.

Their work has shown that these resin formulations meet the critical military requirements and that the green low-HAP composites have improved weatherability and durability relative to the baseline composites. These composites will significantly decrease worker exposure during manufacturing and minimize the expense and time associated with managing permits and air pollution recovery units.

For this work, Dr. La Scala received a Project-of-the-Year award at the annual Partners in Environmental Technology Technical Symposium & Workshop held November 30 – December 2, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

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