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NEWS | Nov. 8, 2016

NRL Receives Dual Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer

By Daniel Parry

Two interdisciplinary teams at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have been awarded the 2016 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award - honoring innovation in technology transfer - by the Mid-Atlantic Region Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC), a regional network of more than 100 federal laboratories and over 350 federal facilities.

The NRL teams, comprised of researchers for the NRL-developed technologies Contaminant Transfer Analyst (CT-Analyst®) and Siloxane-Based Non-Skid Coating; representatives from the NRL Office of Technology Transfer; Office of Counsel; Department of Defense (DoD) TechLink; and commercial partner NFC Coatings, Inc., were presented the awards during the FLC Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting and Industry Day, Oct. 18, at the Universities of Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland.

CT-Analyst®, developed at the NRL Laboratories for Computational Physics & Fluid Dynamics (LCP&FD), is a tool designed to provide first responders with fast and accurate predictions of chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) agent transport in urban settings. CT-Analyst® excels at providing immediate results thanks to advanced pre-computed plume information databases called Nomografs®. CT-Analyst® was used in a command and control capacity as part of the last two U.S. Presidential Inaugurations as well as other major national security events. The NRL team working on CT-Analyst® consists of researchers Dr. Jay Boris, Dr. Gopal Patnaik, Keith Obenschain, and Adam Moses; Amanda Horansky-McKinney (Senior Licensing Associate, NRL), Patricia Doutriaux (Office of Counsel, NRL), Kendra Flowers (Office of Counsel, NRL), Cameron Childs (former Licensing Associate, NRL), and Dr. John Dennis (DoD's TechLink).

CT-Analyst® gives first responders a key advantage so they spend less time calculating response needs and more time saving lives, said Moses, computer scientist, NRL Laboratory for Advanced Computational Physics. Basically, every scenario you can imagine has already been processed, letting you know where a toxic plume is headed and where it is not, and allowing you to plan for both circumstances.

The technology transfer of CT-Analyst® resulted in the delivery of a tool for first responders at the federal, state, local, and international levels. It is currently being used by emergency personnel in the city of Los Angeles, the city of Hamburg in Germany, country-wide in Kuwait, and eventually by the city of Oslo in Norway.

The second technology, Siloxane-Based Non-Skid Coating, developed by the NRL Chemistry Division, is a novel two-component siloxane-based non-skid coating for use on the decks of U.S. Navy surface ships. The silicon-based non-skid coating has proven to be more durable, color retentive and chemical resistant compared to traditional non-skid coatings.

With the implementation of the invention, Direct-to-Metal and Exterior Durable Non-Skid Coating, developed by Dr. Erick Iezzi, James Martin, and Paul Slebodnick; and Mil-Spec guidelines and testing platforms fulfilled by James Tagert and John Wegand, all NRL researchers, the new coatings have proved to reduce costs due to the longer service life-expectancies of the siloxane-based coating, thereby reducing the overall number of man-hours and downtime of coating immobile or mobile platforms.

The coating was designed for use on the flight decks and walking surfaces of U.S. Navy sea-based assets, such as aircraft carriers, destroyers and amphibious vehicles, all of which require non-skid to meet numerous performance requirements while preventing slips, trips and the movement of equipment, said Dr. Iezzi, lead coating formulator, NRL Center for Corrosion Science and Engineering. Compared to legacy epoxy-based non-skids, the new siloxane-based coating provides greater color and profile retention in harsh operational environments, improved repellency of hydrocarbons, an ease of application, especially when sprayed, and most importantly, a longer life-span.

Its versatility allows for application by either spraying or rolling over either primed or directly to clean and blasted steel surfaces due to its improved bonding capability. Instrumental in facilitating the agreement to which this new non-skid coating is commercially available under the NCP brand name, SiloxoGrip(tm) are Steven Marquis (Senior Licensing Associate, NRL) and Randy Terrill (VP, Technology and Quality, NCP), achieving sales in both defense and commercial markets to-date.

Furthermore, by diverging from the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), found in commonly used epoxy resin coatings, NRL is dually impacting the U.S. Navy's 'Great Green Fleet' initiative by changing the chemistry of siloxane-based coatings to more environmental friendly compounds with greater durability. The Navy is implementing the 'Great Green Fleet' initiative through the use of alternative fuels, energy conservation measures, and operational procedures with one goal in mind: instilling a culture of energy efficiency and flexibility throughout the fleet for the future. This initiative emphasizes use of energy conservation measures as a key combat enabler to allow ships to go farther and stay longer, delivering greater combat capability.

The success in NRL‘s Technology Transfer Office plays an important role in demonstrating NRL as a leader in technology innovation. NRL partners with a wide variety of organizations including industry, academia and other government organizations to accelerate the development and transition of new and innovative technologies for the warfighter. NRL‘s research investment has also demonstrated commercial spin-off benefits for our nation‘s civilian economy.

With these three purposes in mind, the NRL Intellectual Property (IP) Branch continues its outstanding efforts at protecting NRL's inventions, and maintaining a high level of quality patent preparation and prosecution. In the last few years, the NRL IP Branch has been particularly prolific in achieving these goals. Specifically, the NRL IP Branch received 136 invention disclosures in Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16), which is an all-time high at NRL since that metric has been kept. In addition, the NRL IP Branch has filed over 200 patent applications each of the last four years, and had over 100 patents issue in each of the last four years, including issuance of 139 US Patents in FY15, which was the second highest number of issued patents in the NRL's history (140 patents were issued to the NRL in the calendar year of 1951).

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