In what has to be one of the strangest collaborations ever, military scientists from the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) have been working with global paint and coating company AkzoNobel to develop an anti-chemical weapon paint that can absorb harmful chemicals from enemy weapons. It is hoped that the paint will be used on vehicles, such as the UK’s Warrior tank, to protect troops from potential chemical and biological attacks.
The anti-chemical weapon paint works very much like a sponge by absorbing any life-threatening toxins. This paint can then be peeled off and a fresh coat applied before the vehicle is sent back into combat.
‘The super-absorbent topcoat material that we developed with AkzoNobel provides even greater levels of absorbance,” said Dr Steven Mitchell, a team leader of decontamination research at DSTL, speaking to The Engineer. He further explained that the anti-chemical paint contains silica gel, an absorbent material that can stop any lethal gas from getting inside a vehicle.This applied to the undercoat — the coat itself is made of a polymer that acts like the glue found on the back of Post-It notes. This makes it strong enough to hold the topcoat in place, but easy enough to peel when it needs to be removed and replaced.
While the DSTL provided the science, AkzoNobel provided the know-how and have produced the paint so that it is available in the standard camouflage colors that the military would use on its vehicles. It is hoped that the next generation of paint will be able to alert soldiers that they are under chemical attack by changing color when they absorb toxic chemicals. The DSTL are also working on developing coatings that not only absorb poisonous chemicals, but also neutralize them.
While UK (or even US forces) have come under chemical attacks or even the threat of them for years, that is no reason not to be prepared. The DSTL’s technology has life-saving potential and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Maybe a paint that also absorbs the desert sun to power the vehicle?
Via The Engineer