About Alion

Labs and Facilities

Advanced Materials and Coatings Laboratory (AMCL)

Revolutionizing Manned Space Flight

Since the days of the U.S.-Russia space race, Alion has been developing and applying aerospace coatings to protect both government and commercial satellites. 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.

Approximately 8,000 square feet of Alion’s laboratory space is dedicated to the preparation and application of standard and custom coatings used for spacecraft and satellites, as well as non-aerospace applications. All preparations and applications are conducted in compliance with full quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) requirements and our internal quality system. Alion state-of-the-art coating facilities are ISO 9001:2008 registered.

Pigment preparation:

Pigments developed at Alion include silicated ZnO and Zn2TiO4. Alion uses standard chemical laboratory equipment for large-scale solution preparation, low temperature [£100°C (212°F)] aqueous reaction/precipitation, filtration and drying on a routine basis. Furnaces with temperature capability of up to 1500°C (2730°F) are on site for calcination of precursor salts and for solid-solid reactions to form binary oxides. Additionally, powder processing equipment for ceramic materials in the form of roller mills, grinding equipment, blenders and screens for particle sizing are also available.

Coatings formulation and application:

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Paint formulation and painting are performed using standard ball mills for preparation, and Paasche or Binks spray equipment are used for coatings applications. Spray booths are available for smaller pieces, while large pieces are coated in a modified laboratory. Versatility in paint application is maintained by use of laboratory methods that can be varied rapidly.

Coating deposition area:

Our coating deposition area is approximately 30 feet long, 20 feet wide and 15 feet high, accommodating components up to 15 feet in length and 8 feet in diameter. One end of the facility is equipped with air filtering, scrubbers and exhaust systems, and the other end of the facility is comprised of the make-up air equipment.

Examples of components coated at Alion include radomes/antenna for the International Space Station, sunshades, radiators and solar panels for geopositioning satellites, and components of early warning satellites.

Learn more about our coatings specifications, click here.