Midland, MI - May 08, 2012
The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) is pleased to announce that 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, have been honored with the prestigious 2012 American Coatings Award for their paper documenting a sophisticated approach for accurately measuring quality metrics of a widely used white pigment, titanium dioxide, in paint.
The American Coatings Award award recognizes outstanding scientific discoveries that lay the foundation for more environmentally-advanced products, more cost effective manufacturing processes, and novel technologies that improve the quality of our everyday lives. Drs. Van Dyk and Nakatani’s winning paper, titled "Shear Rate Dependent Structure of Polymer Stabilized TiO2 Dispersions," was selected by the American Coatings Association and Vincentz Network as the top entry from a pool of nearly 100 submissions from coatings formulators and researchers around the world.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is an important component of paints and other coating products. Soaring global demand has led to product shortages and volatile prices, prompting coatings formulators to seek ways to use TiO2 more efficiently.
The award-winning presentation documents a series of studies that Dr. Van Dyk conducted with Dr. Nakatani 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. Drs. Van Dyk and Nakatani identified polymers that work best to 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," Dr. Van Dyk said, noting that he and Dr. Nakatani would schedule time months in advance at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Md., where they could access specialized equipment needed to run the experiments. "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 Drs. Van Dyk and Nakatani for integrating both new and theoretical science, as well as advanced monitoring and measurement techniques developed at NIST.
Dr. Van Dyk addressed the American Coatings Association in accepting the award at a ceremony kicking off the organization’s biannual conference, being held May 7-9 in Indianapolis.
Dr. Van Dyk has worked in the coatings industry for more than 30 years. He received his Bachelor of Science with Honors in Physics from University of Otago (New Zealand) in 1981, and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Massey University (New Zealand) in 1997. Since joining Dow in 2001, Dr. Van Dyk has carried out research and new product development in the areas of Digital Imaging, Colorants, Rheology Modifiers, and Dispersants for Coatings. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Coatings Association, the Philadelphia Society For Coatings Technology, and Surface Coatings Association of New Zealand, and is the author of 19 patents and patent applications.
Dr. Nakatani has been with Dow for more than 10 years. Previously, he was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, then staff scientist in the Polymers Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Polymer Science from the University of Connecticut, a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego. He has four patents and over 50 published technical papers in a variety of journals.
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