Method for Removal of Airfield Paint Markings and Aircraft Tire Rubber Build-up from Installed AM2 Mat Surfaces
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-022
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET
N151-022 TITLE: Method for Removal of Airfield Paint Markings and Aircraft Tire Rubber Build-up from Installed AM2 Mat Surfaces
TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA 251
OBJECTIVE: Develop a minimally-invasive airfield paint marking and aircraft tire rubber build-up removal technology for installed AM2 mat surfaces.
DESCRIPTION: Expeditionary Airfields (EAFs) are shore-based aviation support systems that allow military aircraft to be rapidly launched and recovered ashore, independent of local facilities. From the most basic of EAFs, such as a grass landing zone for helicopter operations, to more complex solutions, such as large-scale airfield surfacing systems with airfield lighting and aircraft recovery systems, EAFs provide the means to safely and rapidly deploy and recover aircraft in a wide range of conditions. The major subsystems include Airfield Surfacing Systems, Airfield Lighting and Marking Systems and Aircraft Recovery Systems. These EAF sites are assembled using Airfield Surfacing Systems and AM2 mats in a building block concept. Sheets of AM2 mat are used to form runways, taxiways, parking areas and other areas required for efficient aircraft operations and maintenance. AM2 mats consist of 2-ft by 12-ft and 2-ft by 6-ft aluminum panels that are coated with an epoxy nonskid coating material. Each panel has four interlocking edges that permit easy assembly into rectangular expanses which may be theoretically endless in size and proportions. The AM2 mat was designed to withstand the high wheel-loading imposed by tactical aircraft, including arresting hook impacts and heavy transport aircraft.
A significant concern for the EAF Program is the removal of airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up from installed AM2 mat surfaces. Airfield paint markings are employed at EAFs and painted onto AM2 mat surfaces. As airfield operations change or AM2 mats are moved to alternate locations, these airfield paint markings are required to be painted over in order to alleviate the potential for distracting presentations to pilots and ground crew. However, in some cases where airfield markings are painted over and invisible to the naked eye, they are still visible by the night vision devices used by all rotary pilots during night operations. The AM2 mat is coated with a nonskid material that provides an aggressive frictional profile for safe aircraft operations. After prolonged periods of aircraft operations, aircraft tire rubber accumulates on the AM2 mat resulting in a corresponding decrease in its frictional profile.
Currently, there is no procedure for removing airfield paint markings or accumulated tire rubber. If it is determined that an unacceptable amount of rubber has accumulated on a section of AM2 mat, that section of AM2 mat is simply removed and replaced.
An innovative method to remove unwanted airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up from installed AM2 mat surfaces without creating a distracting reflective/contrasting image when viewed through night vision devices is needed. This process should have the ability to remove airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up with no more than 10% effect on the integrity of the AM2 mat nonskid coating. This should be achievable with an easily maintainable, environmentally friendly, single operator device and should be done while installed on the airfield. This technology can be either mechanical or chemical, but must be of an expeditionary nature and not adversely impact local Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. The means of airfield paint marking and aircraft tire rubber build-up removal must also not react with the nonskid coating in a way that would degrade the AM2 mat surface friction profile more than 10%.
The type of paint currently used to mark the AM2 mat on an EAF conforms to FED-STD-595. The airfield marking paint comes in a variety of colors such as yellow or white and utilizes glass beads for reflectivity.
In order to effectively remove airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up from AM2 mat surfaces, the material properties and structural specifications of the AM2 mat should be considered. AM2 mat is fabricated from 6061 Aluminum alloy, tempered to the T6 condition. The AM2 mat structure is composed of thirteen hollow cores with integral rib stiffeners. The top skin thickness is approximately 0.14 inches and the bottom skin thickness is approximately 0.125 inches. The AM2 mat is deployed in a few different sizes, mainly consisting of a 2-ft by 6-ft by 1.5-in panel and a 2-ft by 12-ft by 1.5-in panel. In addition, the AM2 mat is painted green and the top skin is coated with an epoxy-based nonskid material approximately 30-mil in thickness. An AM2 mat will be provided as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) to all Phase I awardees.
EAFs can have airfield runway dimensions of 96 ft. wide by 4,000 ft. long or greater, justifying the need for a method that can cover large swaths of airfield quickly and easily. The technology shall be capable of removing airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up from 6 to 20 in wide and up to 1 mile long with a single pass. AM2 mat is used in a wide variety of operational conditions ranging from arctic zones, temperate zones, tropical and subtropical zones, and semi-arid and arid zones, thus warranting the need for a method that can be easily and effectively transported and operated in a plethora of climatic conditions. The technology would not only aid in ensuring the safety of the Warfighter, equipment and aircraft, but it would also increase ease-of-use and provide cost reduction opportunities, as well as commercial applications. The ability to remove airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up from AM2 mat surfaces would also enable preventive maintenance, allowing problems to be addressed before they escalate and result in costly, damaging effects.
PHASE I: Develop a conceptual design for an airfield paint marking and aircraft tire rubber build-up removal process that meets the requirements as stated in the description. Prove the feasibility of such a device through analysis and lab demonstrations.
PHASE II: Finalize, build, and demonstrate a prototype with the capability to remove airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up from AM2 mat surfaces that would not significantly degrade the AM2 mat surface friction profile. Provide estimates for production cost.
PHASE III: Build production units for transition for EAF use. Provide logistics, including operational and maintenance manuals.
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: In addition to benefits provided to the Department of Defense (DoD), the application of a technology that could safely remove airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up from AM2 mat surfaces could provide the ability to safely remove these items from commercial airfield materials. By removing airfield paint markings and aircraft tire rubber build-up early on, maintenance work and preventive measures can be taken to ensure the safety of pilots and ground crew.
2. Foster, D., & Anderson, M. (2003). Rapid Forward Deployment Made Easier with Composite Airfield Matting. The AMPTIAC Quarterly, 7, 1. 17-22.
KEYWORDS: Expeditionary Airfield (Eaf); Mat; method; AM2; Markings; Aircraft tire rubber build-up
Offical DoD SBIR FY-2015.1 Solicitation Site: