Applied Nanotech receives U.S. Army contract for self-healing composites R&D

The $275,642 contract, the third awarded for the project, will allow Applied Nanotech to develop glass fiber-reinforced composite panels to improve protection from ballistic and blast threats; the company also will work on self-healing technologies for composite structures.

Applied Nanotech Holdings, Inc. (Austin, Texas, USA) announced on June 18 that it has received a $275,642 contract from the U.S. Army to develop glass fiber­ reinforced composite (GFRP) panels to improve the protection of facilities from ballistic and blast threats, as well as from electromagnetic interference (EMI), seismic events and degradation.

Applied Nanotech is also developing the supplemental functionalities of surface self­decontamination, to protect against bio­ chemical attacks, and novel and efficient self-­healing properties, to its carbon nanotube­-reinforced panels. In addition, its technology has the potential to significantly reduce the weight of GFRP panels and improve logistics.

“We competed successfully for this contract in response to a broad agency announcement for developing functional materials and commercializing the technologies,” says Dr. Dongsheng Mao, vice president of engineering of Applied Nanotech. “Building upon our strong reputation in this field, we are making significant progress toward our goal for commercialization of this defense­focused application.”

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center‘s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC­CERL) awarded the contract. It is the third contract awarded to Applied Nanotech for this specific project, which now totals more than $825,000.

“We are really starting to gain traction on our nanocomposite technology and seeing market opportunities. It was first commercialized for sporting goods, but its versatility and strength enable applications for many other applications with very large market potential, like the defense industry,” says Dr. Zvi Yaniv, CEO of Applied Nanotech. “We are pleased and excited to develop multifunctional, stronger, lighter protective materials for our nation’s defense forces.”

Until recently, logistical requirements associated with the maintenance and repair of composite panels limited their development. Both low­ rate and high­ rate impacts induce delaminations that spread over large areas around the impact point. In conventional composites, this damage is typically repaired by removing large areas of composite, or replacing the composite part completely. The process is often expensive, time consuming, and must be performed by highly­skilled composites technicians. However, by integrating Applied Nanotech’s proprietary self­healing material system in the ballistic GFRP panels, cracks or delamination can be healed to a degree, after panels sustain damage, avoiding costly repair and replacement in many cases.

In addition to ballistics protection, Applied Nanotech has developed carbon nanotube-­enhanced polymers for glass and carbon fiber ­reinforced composites for a wide range of applications including sporting goods, automotive, aerospace, marine, and others. Yonex Corp., an industry­leading sporting goods company, recently introduced ultra­lightweight badminton racquets and golf club shafts using Applied Nanotech’s technology under a license agreement. It also recently introduced CNTstix, an ultra­strong structural epoxy adhesive product that uses carbon nanotube reinforcement.