Two researchers with the Dow Chemical Co. were honored with the 2012 American Coatings Award for their paper documenting a sophisticated approach for accurately measuring quality metrics of titanium dioxide, a widely used white pigment in paint. Dr. Antony Van Dyk, global research & development leader for dispersants and project leader for rheology modifiers, and Dr. Alan Nakatani, a senior research scientist in the core research & development analytical sciences rheology group, collaborated on the paper titled “Shear Rate Dependent Structure of Polymer Stabilized TiO2 Dispersions.” The American Coatings Association and Vincentz Network selected the paper as the top entry from a pool of nearly 100 submissions from coatings formulators and researchers around the world.
The award-winning presentation details a series of studies to learn how TiO2 responds to forces that occur when paint is stirred or applied to a surface with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
The studies employed an advanced technique called Rheo Ultra Small-Angle Neutron Scattering, or Rheo-USANS, to pinpoint conditions under which aggregates of small titanium dioxide particles break apart or cluster together in liquid paint. Van Dyk and Nakatani identified polymers that best keep the particles well dispersed; the ability to control the dispersion leads directly to improved paints and coatings — advances that are already being incorporated into new products.
“This is not the kind of research you can do in the lab every day,” saysVan Dyk, noting that he and Nakatani would schedule time months in advance at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Md., to conduct Rheo-USANS analysis. “This is an additional technique that gives us deeper insight into what’s going on with titanium dioxide and allows us to quantify properties that are usually very difficult to measure, especially in liquid form.”
Reviewers commended Van Dyk and Nakatani for integrating both new and theoretical science, as well as advanced monitoring and measurement techniques developed at NIST.