SOLON, OH — Dr. Ray Fernando of the Department of Chemical and Biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, will receive the Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings for 2019.

Fernando has been a Professor and Arthur C. Edwards Endowed Chair and the Director of the Polymers and Coatings Program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University since 2002. Previously, Fernando was a Lead Research Chemist at Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a Principal Scientist at Armstrong World Industries Inc. USA, and a Research Officer at USA and Rubber Technology Division of Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Fernando received his North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, in the Polymers and Coatings department. He obtained his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Sri Lanka.

Since his days in the Ph.D. program at North Dakota State University, where he worked under the mentorship of Ed Glass, Fernando’s focus has been on understanding the rheology of paints and coatings. More specifically, his work has largely been devoted to understanding the structure and properties of the individual components of a coating’s formulation, including resins, additives like surfactants, and rheology modifiers, and relating them to the application and performance properties of the final product. In a sense, Fernando’s work bridged the gap between the synthetic polymer chemist, and the process/application engineer, illuminating why a formulation worked the way it did, and the key raw material characteristics and specifications necessary to obtain satisfactory and reproducible results.

Much of Fernando’s work has focused on the industrially important associative thickeners, which are used extensively in latex-based waterborne coatings. He made important contributions to understanding the role of dynamic uniaxial extensional viscosity in properties like spatter of roller-applied coatings that dominate the architectural market, as well as the behavior of spray applied waterborne coatings used extensively in industrial applications.

At Air Products, Fernando made numerous contributions to improve the performance of products based on vinyl acetate/ethylene copolymers (Airflex®) in solvent-free formulations, hybrid acrylic/polyurethane resin dispersions (Hybridur®), and a unique coating system based on water-dispersible polyester resins cured with isocyanate resins (Adura®). He also made significant progress in understanding the dispersing of nanoparticle rheology modifiers in formulations.

During his Armstrong career, Fernando worked on a wide range of coating technologies including solvent- and water-based polyurethanes, UV-cure systems, and architectural latex systems.

In his industrial career, Fernando is credited with 12 peer-reviewed publications, three granted patent families, and numerous other publications and presentations. Since joining academia, he has published 17 peer-reviewed publications, one patent, and a long list of non-peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Fernando’s record of service to the industry is outstanding by any measure. Much of that work has been with the American Coatings Association. He received the Joseph J. Mattiello Lecture Award in 2018, which recognized his scientific and service contributions. In 1998, he received the FSCT Roon Foundation Award. His volunteer contributions to the industry, the ACA and FSCT in particular, were so extensive that in 2004 he received the FSCT Service Award, and in 2005 the FSCT President’s Award for Distinguished Service to Professionals in the Coatings Field. He has also served as an editor for ACA’s Journal of Coatings Technology and Research (where he is also a member of the Editorial Review Board), as well as Progress in Organic Coatings and other journals in the field. With the American Chemical Society (ACS), he has organized a symposium on nanomaterial applications in coatings, and edited proceedings for an ACS Symposium Series book that followed the symposium.

Through his product development, scientific publications and presentations, he has made significant contributions toward the understanding of how the structure of rheology modifiers relates to their performance in a coating formulation. He also has advanced our knowledge of, on one hand, how the complex interactions among the numerous components of a formulation affect various rheological properties, and, on the other hand, how those interactions affect the application, flow, and final product performance.

Fernando will receive the Tess Award from Dr. Mathhew L. Becker, Chair of the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE)  of the ACS, in August 2019 during the 258th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego. An evening reception in honor of the Tess award recipient and other PMSE and POLY award winners also will be held at the ACS meeting.

The Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering presents the Tess Award each year in recognition of outstanding contributions to coatings science, engineering and technology. A grant from Dr. and Mrs. Roy W. Tess funds the award. The purpose of the award is to encourage interest and progress in coatings science technology and engineering and to recognize significant contributions to the field.