Thermal Metal Coating Developed for HMS Queen Elizabeth
(Source: Institute of Mechanical Engineers; posted May 20, 2016)
A thermal metal coating protects the flight deck of the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers from the heat of new F-35B Lightning II fighter jet engines

British engineers have developed a thermal metal coating to protect the flight deck of the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers from the heat.

The carriers, soon to be the Royal Navy's largest ever ships, are protected by the coating from the heat which results from the immense thrust of the engines of the new F-35B Lightning II fighter jets.

Specialist teams from across the Aircraft Carrier Alliance have developed the unique protective coating using a combination of aluminium and titanium, to withstand temperatures of up to 1,500 °C and is expected to provide protection through the 50-year life of the carriers. The coating forms an important part of the work underway to prepare HMS Queen Elizabeth for sea trials next year and flight trials in 2018.

The specialist thermal coating is being applied to sections of the vast flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth using a specially developed robotic spray, which fires powdered metal through a jet of plasma at temperatures of almost 10,000°C (18,000°F). The molten droplets then flatten and quickly solidify, creating a tough but rough coating 2-2.5 mm thick that is bonded to the steel beneath. Approximately 2,000 square metres of the 19,000 square metre flight deck will be coated, with the work due to be completed prior to sea trials in early 2017.

Ian Booth, managing director of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, said: “There is incredible momentum behind the programme to prepare HMS Queen Elizabeth for sea trials and integrate the F-35B Lightning II aircraft. Working with experts in the UK, we have developed a unique coating to provide the necessary protection to the flight deck of the aircraft carriers and this will ensure they can deliver the UK's carrier strike capability for the next fifty years.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The “unique” metal coating was developed in partnership with Monitor Coatings, based in Tyne and Wear, the Dumfermline Press reported May 20.)


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