Products in Development 

AST’s proprietary Surface Active Polymer (SAP) additives stratify to the surface and create hydrophilic domains within a hydrophobic matrix. Originally developed to repel marine biofouling, these SAP’s have also shown promising performance in other critical applications. 

Anti-Ice Coating Development for Aviation

Ice accumulation continues to be an unsolved and costly challenge across industries ranging from energy to infrastructure and transportation. AST’s proprietary additive packages have shown promising results in a variety of coating systems for the delay of frost accumulation and the reduction of ice adhesion forces. Thanks to support from a U.S. Air Force SBIR contract, AST is further developing this innovative technology into a solution for icing within military and commercial aviation.

SBIR Project Summary, from AST’s successful pitch to AFWERX

Developed from Existing, Proven, and
Proprietary AST Technology
AST’s anti-ice coating development is based on additives from our existing non-toxic marine coating that was commercially launched in 2019. Our SLIPS® Foul Protect™ additives reduce the adhesion and persistence of unwanted biological fouling by creating heterogeneous surfaces that strongly interact with and hold sea water. The presence of multiple chemistries on the surface, in addition to the surface ambiguity created by hydration, confuses organisms like barnacles that would otherwise attach to the surface. These same properties make it difficult for ice to strongly adhere by disrupting nucleation and crystal growth at the interface, and can delay frost formation.

AST is fine-tuning these solutions for anti-ice problem sets, currently optimizing properties for frost resistance as well as application-specific longevity.  By combining a mechanically durable low surface energy binder system with AST’s patented self-stratifying additives, a functional coating with strong anti-ice properties can be created while maintaining robust mechanical properties.

The average and standard deviation of the maximum load at delamination for each of the three SLIPS coatings.
Values for Teflon coatings are included for reference.

AST is welcoming additional partners who are interested in evaluating our prototype anti-ice technology in commercially relevant applications. 

COVID-19 Response: Improved Antiviral Surfaces and Smart Disinfectants

AST is also exploring how our novel additives can assist the resolution of the COVID-19 crisis through the creation of functional materials. From our expertise in marine biofilm repellency, we understand that viral mitigation is complex and requires a biocidal approach to ensure efficacy. We believe we can create an improved antiviral surface that interacts with disinfectant solutions to improve biocidal activity – effectively reducing COVID-19 staying on commonly touched surfaces such as door handles and handrails.

Improved Antiviral Surfaces

To create an improved antiviral surface, AST will use surface chemistries that loosely bind to existing antiviral disinfectant solutions. By engineering the surface in this way, we can absorb some of the biocidal actives and extend the duration of contact between the virus on the surface and actives within the solution. It is also possible that some of these actives would remain trapped in the coating for some time after application of the disinfecting solution thus conferring longer term activity. Studies have indicated that SARS-CoV-2 may stay on surfaces for up to three days (or longer)1 and contact with a disinfectant solution needs to be 30 seconds to 10 minutes to be effective.2 As a consequence, it is important to bind the virus to disinfectants for much longer than the average “wipe” to create an antiviral surface. We believe our surface chemistries can do that.

Smart Disinfectant

In order to create AST’s biofouling repellent marine coating, AST had to develop multifunctional oils with tunable interaction to moisture. These oils may have an interesting property when integrated into cleaning solutions. Since these oils can interact with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic segments of proteins, we would expect an improved wetting interaction between these oils and a virus. By integrating these oils into a disinfectant solution, we would expect a better delivery of antiviral agents to individual viruses driven by improved wetting and self- assembly. It is also possible these additives can change the drying dynamics of the disinfectant, which could play a vital role in modulating antiviral activity.