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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

ECBC develops chemical agent decontamination spray for active soldiers in the field

The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) recently announced that is has developed a decontamination spray that enables soldiers at the unit level to decontaminate vehicle surfaces in the field immediately after exposure to a chemical warfare agent and continue with their mission.

The spray was developed by ECBC’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological (CBR) Filtration Branch. The spray itself is based on zirconium hydroxide as a filtration absorbent that was also discovered to react with and neutralize chemical agent molecules.

“One of the challenges of the formulation effort was to find a suitable carrier liquid to deliver the zirconium hydroxide material, a carrier that would be readily available in the field,” Matt Shue, branch chief of ECBC’s Decontamination Sciences Branch, said. “That led us to options including water and kerosene in the form of JP8 aviation fuel. These are better options than other low flashpoint solvents that would be extremely flammable.”

The development process involved combining specific solutions, including kerosene and water, along with zirconium hydroxide. The research team at ECBC had to ensure that the solution would work on both horizontal and vertical surfaces while maximizing the types of chemical agents it could effectively decontaminate.

ECBC is a U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command laboratory and is the Army’s principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense technology.