Photocurable materials are Spectra Group Photopolymers's core area of expertise. Whether you want to develop a new UV curable coating, a UV curable adhesive, or you want to solve a problem with your existing photocurable material, our scientists are here to listen to your needs and create a custom solution for your problem. We can help throughout all of the developmental stages: from conception of the idea, to formulation and even manufacturing, Spectra Group Photopolymers strives to provide a full package solution to its clients. All of our projects are conducted on a confidential basis.
Research and Development, and further manufacturing of products, performed in support of the energy (radiation) cure and allied industries include:
• Formulation, development and optimization (enhancing cure and property performance) of:
o UV/Vis Curable Coatings
o UV/Vis Curable adhesives for plastic and metal
o UV/Vis Curable inks
o UV/Vis Curable highly filled materials
o deep cure materials
o UV/Vis Curable thick composites
• Help with development and introduction of new products (resins, photoinitiators, photocurable formulations etc.)
• Novel photocure processes
• UV, visible light and EB cure
• Novel, difficult or “next generation” applications
• Specialty cure applications
• Troubleshooting and product improvements
• Basic research related to energy cure, photodegradation, photophysics
• Assessing feasibility
• Custom photoinitiator and resin synthesis
• Testing and analysis
Below is a representation of the solutions we have provided to a variety of industries.
Case Study #1
Repairing Corrosion In Submarine Ballast Tanks
The environment in a submarine ballast tank while the ship is underway is very aggressive. The water of the sea is continually circulated in and out creating fertile grounds for metal corrosion, and the need to repair the painted surfaces periodically. Repainting submarine ballast tanks is done while a ship is in dry dock and can be a long process. The demands on the successful replacement paint are enormous – it must be anti-corrosive, stick vigorously to metal, and not be susceptible to later attack in the service environment. Currently utilized two-part epoxy paints perform adequately, but take a long time (7 days) to cure completely, diminishing the ship battle-readiness. These two-part epoxies contain solvents and are volatile organic compound (VOC) rich.
The main objective of the project was to find such a paint that could be rapidly dried, yet provide the same anti-corrosion protection and peripherally, the color of the paint original to the surface.
Spectra scientists developed an energy cured (visible light) repair paint with all of the properties of the two-part epoxy that would dry in a few minutes as opposed to a week or more. Submarines in which this paint has been applied continue to sail the Pacific, with the paint repair patches in continual use for more than 7 years without failure. This project was performed as a part of the SBIR in cooperation with the Office of Naval Research, Carderock Laboratories.
This work received the Pioneering Technology award from RadTech Association in 1998 and has been described in relevant trade publications.
Case Study #2
Develop Blood Simulants For Use In Training Military Personnel and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT)
Nearly 70% of the deaths in combat occur from blood loss incurred in the first few minutes after a wound. Training army personnel for various extreme situations is a critical component of being prepared for combat missions. It is crucial that every participant in combat is trained to stop bleeding and conduct hemorrhage control. At this moment, four out of nine training procedures involve the use of animal blood thus bringing certain biological hazards plus requiring extensive use of live animals. The use of an artificial blood simulant would be a safer and less expensive route for training. That is the target of an on-going Spectra Group SBIR contract with the Office of the Surgeon General of the US Army.
Production of a full line of simulant products and first delivery to training centers is expected by mid-2014.
Case Study #3
Optical Lenses For Optometrist’s Office - Manufacturing Plastic Lenses Using Light
Preparing a new prescription pair of glasses from the basic stock of blank lenses held by most optical laboratories is time-consuming and can be expensive for the customer. This is normally done by grinding and polishing a blank to fit the prescription. Lens pairs from typical optometrists can cost hundreds of dollars even when the patient’s prescription is simple, and more than that for patients whose eyes need more complex corrective devices. In the 3rd world, where these base stocks are not available, patients go without glasses, or use ill-fitting ones perhaps passed down by a relative or friend.
In collaboration with http://www.opticastusa.com in a program supported by the Ohio Department of Development, Spectra scientists developed a series of energy curable optical plastic formulations and a device equipped with molds simulating nearly 90% of all required different visual corrections. With this method, liquid pre-polymer formulations are polymerized with light in the shaped mold. An optician can make a set of spectacle lenses in his/her own shop to meet the correction requirement of a patient and do so in a few minutes, even for bifocals and trifocals. In the 3rd world, one laboratory or optometrist’s organization can hold the basic set of molds, so that the only consumable is the optical lens liquid pre-polymer formulation – the Spectra Group/Opticast product.