Advanced Materials and Coatings Laboratory (AMCL)

Alion’s Advanced Materials and Coatings Laboratory (AMCL) specializes in the preparation and application of coatings for spacecraft and satellites.

Many years of experience, with deep technical knowledge

coatings lab technician at work

Application/deposition of coatings on aerospace hardware, radiators, antennas, solar arrays, and lens housing structures are done in our on-site 23’ x 18’ x 11’ climate control spray booth.

As a leading provider of commercial spacecraft thermal control products​, AMCL has a 60-year history of experience in advanced thermal space coatings science and chemistry, an outstanding reputation for solving complex problems quickly, and a heritage of success for material and services.

Our engineers pioneered the development of unique materials for the protection of aerospace structures and components from Space Environmental Effects (SEE). Alion has produced materials for the Gemini and Apollo Missions, the International Space Station (ISS), NASA and DoD.

We are a developer of a  “super finishing” process followed by application of military specified anti-corrosion coatings, which should increase the life of a metal part by 20%, and employ AFRL and NASA approved materials for use based on rigorous space simulation exposure. AMCL is Quality Management System ISO 9001:2015 certified.

AMCL has been working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) since shortly after that agency’s creation in 1958, designing and applying mission-critical thermal coatings that protect satellites and spacecraft from the harsh conditions of outer space. We have been on the cutting edge of inter-planetary missions and manned missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

Our coatings conform to NASA’s strict specifications, taking into account custom data about orbital patterns, environmental factors like temperature and radiation level, and more. The coatings help control the external temperature of space craft and  limit UV radiation absorption, which allows instruments to operate more effectively .

Our other clients include: Lockheed Martin, USP, NHarris Corp., Bristol/Magellan, Aerojet, JPL, Orbital ATK, Boeing, Sandia, Litton, Northrup Gruman, ESA,Goodrich, JAXA, and Space X.

Our Facilities

With a complete inventory of optical testing, mixing and application equipment, in state-of-the-art facilities, we can tailor thermal control coatings to fill our customers’ specific needs.

Our large-scale production facilities include three cryo-freezers; High bay area with 23’ x 18’ x 11’ climate controlled, OSHA compliant spray booth with area devoted to preparation; an inorganic spray laboratory; and an organic spray laboratory. Each lab space is devoted to specific TCMS to limit cross-contamination. Our labs are equipped with a wide variety of spray equipment including turbine sprayer with Croix spray gun, binks spray guns and airbrushes.

Test Equipment on Site:

  • Lambda 9 UV/VIS/NIR spectrophotometer with integrating sphere for measuring solar absorptance (α)
  • Gier Dunkel DB-100 total infrared reflectometer used to determine total emittance of materials (E)
  • Wet film and eddy current dry film thickness measuring equipment
  • Also available are grind test, pH, viscosity, density measuring equipment, surface and volume resistivity meters
  • TML, CVCM per ASTM-E-595 tests (Nusil)
  • Thermal shock and adhesion testing per ASTM standards

Performance of Conductive Aerospace Coatings​

Coating Composition/Temperature Capability Typical Optical Properties BOL Typical Surface Resistance (Ω/)
    α ± 0.02 EN ± 0.05  
Z93C55 White inorganic   500°C 0.15 0.90 106 to 108
DS13N/LO-HP White organic flexible  200°C 0.18 0.90 106 to 1010
MH216NCLO Black organic flexible  200°C 0.95 0.90 106 to 108
MH55ICP Black inorganic  500°C 0.95 0.90 106 to 108
α = solar absorptance
EN = total normal emittance
Ω/ = ohms per square

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