Current Usage   

Paints, primers, sealants, composites, bonding agents, organic cleaners, and paint and sealant removers frequently create high VOC emissions.


Typical Applications


  • Aircraft skins
  • Al airframes
  • Steel airframe components
  • Sealants
  • Composites
  • Cleaners
  • Strippers
  • MIL-F-7179
  • MIL-P-53022
  • MIL-PRF-23377
  • MIL-PRF-85582
  • TO 1-1-8
  • MIL-STD-7179A
  • MIL-HDBK-17
  • TO 1-1-8
  • AMS 3167
  • TO 1-1-8
  • MIL-P-85891

ESOH Issues

The primary issue is air emissions of HAPs in Defense operations and personnel exposure to toxic chemicals.

  • EPA Clean Air Act rules
  • Toxic Release Inventory


Personnel may be exposed at the OEM level and during depot overhaul, panel removal and resealing, repaint, and operational level touch-up and repair.

  • OEM and depot personnel may be exposed in degreasing, removal of paints and sealants, painting, sealing, stripping, adhesive assembling, and other operations involving the use of organic chemicals. Emission controls, PPE required.
  • Maintainers are exposed in scuff sand and paint operations, sealing, composite repair. PPE required.

Alternatives, Applications, Status There are many examples of processes and formulations that reduce VOC emissions. The table below gives some examples.

Common Alternatives

Examples of Developments, Authorizations, and Implementations


Water reducible, high solids primer

  • Used on F-35, Apache helicopter
  • Authorized for NAVAIR use
  • MIL-PRF-85582D Type I Class N
  • MIL-P-53030
  • LMA-MR003D Type II Class 2 GRADE A
  • HMS 15-1100 Type I Class 2 Grade N


  • Standard cure – vehicle use
  • Low temperature cure for Al and high strength steel has been developed
  • UV cure has been developed
  • MIL-PRF-32348

Electrocoat (e-coat)

  • Electrocoat CARC specified for MRAPs, FMTV


Self Priming Topcoat

  • Developed and evaluated, not production


Tape-type sealants alternatives to polysulfides

  • Teflon tape, implemented on C-17
  • Neoprene tape, implemented on C-17
  • AMS 3255

Non-chromated sealants

  • Chromated sealants not used in Boeing commercial aircraft


Depaint and stripping alternatives

  • Plastic media blast – Hill AFB
  • Laser depaint for radomes – Hill AFB
  • Flashjet depaint – Apache blades
  • Pulsed water jet implemented by P&W for thermal spray coating removal
  • AED A2049, Flashjet
  • MIL-P-85891, PMB
  • T.O. 1-1-8


  • Most operations have moved from solvent to aqueous cleaning of components