CASE STUDY: Triton Hangar at Naval Station Mayport
Plexi-Chemie Coatings Protect the Floors of a Drone Hangar in Jacksonville, Florida
Naval Station Mayport is one of three major Navy installations in the Jacksonville area and is home to a busy seaport, as well as a military airfield. Commissioned in 1942, NS Mayport has the capability of accommodating 34 ships in its protected harbor and has an 8,000-foot runway that can handle any aircraft in the Department of Defense inventory, including large unmanned drones. The Triton Hangar is where these $50 million drone aircraft are maintained and housed. When the hangar’s concrete floors needed the installation of a protective coating system, Plexi-Chemie had just the right combination of materials to extend the service life of the concrete and protect it from the intense wear-and-tear of aircraft and vehicle traffic. Plexi-Chemie’s PlexiGlaze #4, PlexiGlaze IFF and PlexiCrest P made up the perfect solution for this 42,000-square-foot hangar floor.
Although the concrete floor was brand-new, it was in desperate need of surface preparation and repair. According to the Plexi-Chemie crew, construction trucks and other trades had “roughed up” the concrete significantly, creating cracks and surface deviations that needed to be repaired. Using shot-blasters and diamond grinders, the crew cleaned and profiled the hangar floor to achieve optimal mechanical adhesion for the application of the coating system. After the surface preparation process, the Plexi-Chemie team vacuumed the hangar floor, ridding the surface of all debris.
Impact and Chemical Resistance at the Forefront
Once the Triton hangar floor was properly prepared, the 7-man crew installed a flood coat of PlexiGlaze #4 at a thickness of 10 mils. This flood coat conditioned the concrete surface and created the mechanical and chemical bonding ability for the body and top coats. PlexiGlaze #4 is a 100% solids, clear epoxy floor resin designed for use as a primer/sealer for concrete. It is non-blushing, non-water spotting, anti-microbial and supports heavy industrial traffic, including large aircraft and support vehicles. Although PlexiGlaze #4 cures into a very hard solid, it does not become brittle, allowing it to withstand impact and abrasion. It is the most advanced cyclo-aliphatic amine curing system of its kind.
With the flood coat of Plexi-Glaze #4 installed, the crew allowed the material to cure overnight, and then returned the next morning to sand the floor with a 20-inch buffing/sanding machine. Sanding is critical to the surface prep process as it strikes out any imperfections, rids the concrete of any remaining dirt/debris and removes any sharp areas in the flood coat.
Given the poor condition of the concrete substrate, repairing cracks and treating all expansion joints with Rubberthane II was the next step for the crew. Rubberthane II is a 100% solids, two-part, modified epoxy resin membrane that is not only tough, durable and has excellent adhesion properties, but is also very flexible. Rubberthane II does not contain plasticizers or any other substances that can separate from the resin polymer over time or degrade due to harsh environmental conditions. Application of Rubberthane II helps to make the expansion joints more flexible and assists in stabilizing movement of the concrete slab. Using putty knives, the crew installed the Rubberthane II at all expansion joints at thicknesses between ¼-inch and ½-inch.
After the Rubberthane II had cured for two to three hours, a body coat of PlexiGlaze Industrial Floor Finish (IFF) was applied using 36-inch serrated rollers and spiked shoes. This coating is a non-blushing, non-water-spotting, 100% solids, heavy-duty floor coating especially designed for industrial and commercial applications. It is anti-microbial, and although it cures into a very hard solid, just like PlexiGlaze #4, it does not become brittle, but can withstand impact and vibration. The Plexi-Chemie team installed the light gray PlexiGlaze IFF at a thickness of 15-20 mils. The glossy, light gray color was chosen very purposefully by the client, as they wanted the floor to have the cleanest look possible.
The final layer of the coating system to be applied on this job was a coat of PlexiCrest P in the same light gray color as the PlexiGlaze IFF body coat. PlexiCrest P is a polyester polyurethane gloss coating system that consists of the latest, most advanced technology in coatings for interior/exterior concrete, exterior metal structures, construction industries and equipment protection. The finished system displays exceptional moisture, abrasion and UV resistance, while the hard, slick film is easy to clean. The excellent UV resistance of PlexiCrest P was especially important, as when the hangar doors are open, the floor is exposed to the harsh, direct sunlight. The crew applied the coat of PlexiCrest P at a thickness of 3-5 mils using 18-inch and 30-inch rollers.
While the majority of the seven day project went off without a hitch, there were definitely challenges that the crew had to overcome. Because the job was so large, the crew had to divide the hangar into quadrants and focus on those areas one at a time. In addition, there were trenches containing electrical conduit and plumbing piping located at 50-75-foot intervals throughout the hangar. The crew had to work around these trenches and ensure that no damage was done to any of the sensitive underground utilities.
Excellent Solution for the Triton Hangar
The combination of comprehensive surface preparation and the high tech Plexi-Chemie coatings were the perfect answer for the long-term protection of the Triton Hangar concrete floor. The functionality and durability of the floor, along with its clean and beautiful finished look, is considered a success by all involved – the crew, the client and the military personnel who work on the multi-million dollar drones housed in the hangar.