Paint in development may thwart chemical attack

Scientists are planning to develop a paint coating for military vehicles that would soak up a chemical warfare agent and then decontaminate itself.

The technology could protect those operating in or around a vehicle after a chemical attack. It would be adapted from "strippable" coatings currently used to provide temporary camouflage for vehicles.

Although current research is focused on chemical warfare agents, scientists have also been looking at approaches that might tackle radiological and biological agents.

The development work is being carried out by the United Kingdom’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory. Steven Mitchell, the acting team leader for hazard management and decontamination, said the next generation of coatings could be engineered to absorb chemical warfare agents.

Further down the line, scientists are looking into reactive coatings. These would incorporate catalysts and possibly enzymes allowing the paint to "self-decontaminate."

DSTL has been collaborating on the technology with industry partner AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings.