The Lyondell booth area in the Technology Showcase.
For the 30th year, The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Polymer Science hosted its annual International Waterborne, High-Solids, and Powder Coating Symposium. The meeting took place on February 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans. There were 315 scientists from Asia, Canada, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East, South America and the United States in attendance at the international symposium. Representatives from eight European countries were in the audience. Attendance increased by about 15% over the previous year. This increase may be a harbinger of improving economic conditions in the industry.

The Plenary Lecture, "Technology for Coatings in 2003; Now Come the Changes," was presented by Dr. Robert R. Matheson, Jr., of DuPont Performance Coatings. Matheson pointed out that coating science will continue to undergo change during the year with environmental pressures still playing an important role. Coating systems containing less than 30% solvent will continue to grow at the expense of lower-solids system. Such systems will be different, but perhaps not better in quality than low-solids systems. Tools such as controlled polymerization, modern analytical capabilities, nanoparticles, and structurally designed oligomers are felt to be specific areas that will determine future paths for the industry to follow. It appears to be the time in this industry when coating technology may lead materials development -- at least for the near future.

The symposium was comprised of 40 truly excellent papers. While manuscript quality is always high at this meeting, it seems to improve each year. The presentations dealt with a variety of topics that included additives, autodeposition developments, crosslinking, cured film and other analysis, new product synthesis and development, powder coatings, radiation-cured coatings, rheology, surfactants, and waterborne coatings. A particularly interesting paper was one that dealt with an additive that can improve surface "cleanability." This paper will be printed in an upcoming issue of PCI. There were six papers devoted to powder coatings and five papers devoted to radiation-cure technology. Particular sessions were well attended by attentive audiences.

The Eastman Chemical Co. booth area in the Technology Showcase.
During breaks and evenings, extensive interactions -- both formal and informal -- took place between attendees at the Sixth Technology Showcase and planned evening functions. There were 15 booths involved in the Technology Showcase. Eastman Chemical Co. provided a Mardi Gras-themed reception one evening and Crompton OSi Specialties sponsored an After-Dinner Coffee and Desserts event on another evening.

Bayer Corp. and Hattiesburg's (MS) Area Redevelopment Partnership hosted the 2003 Paper Awards Ceremony and Reception. The papers submitted and presented at this symposium are evaluated and rated by well-known, independent judges who determine their technological significance, scientific merit, originality or novelty, and written manuscript clarity as well as the quality of oral presentation. The three highest rated manuscripts/presentations received an appropriate plaque and a monetary award.

At the awards ceremony, the Shelby F. Thames Best Paper Award of $10,000, which was sponsored by Bayer Corp. and BP Chemical Ltd., went to Nancy Cliff and Mouhcine Kanouni of Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corp., Karlis Adamsons of E.I. Dupont De Nemours & Co., and Philip V. Yaneff of DuPont Performance Coatings for their investigation of the "Migration of Reactable UVAs and HALS in Automotive Plastic Coatings and Their Impact on Durability." The investigators combined applied and basic technology to determine the effect of minimizing the movement of light stabilizers on the durability of multilayer coatings on plastic substrates.

The Outstanding Coatings Technology First Place Paper Award of $3,000, sponsored by PCI, was awarded to Bret Chishom and Jim Resue of GE Global Research for their studies of "UV-Curable, Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Coatings." The investigation determined the effect of organically modified silica nanoparticles on ultraviolet radiation-cured polymer/matrix compositions.

Dr. Shelby F. Thames, president of the University of Southern Mississippi, opening the symposium.
The Outstanding Coatings Technology Second Place Paper Award of $2,000, which was sponsored by Southern Diversified Products LLC, was presented to Hans-Dieter Christian and Andreas Feller of Degussa AG for their research study entitled "Synthetic Aluminum Silicates as a Functional Pigment Extender in Emulsion Paints." The study investigated the improved hiding power and whiteness obtained when synthetic aluminum silicates are used in combination with titanium oxide in emulsion-based paints.

The Elias Singer Outstanding Student Paper Award of $1,000, which was sponsored by Troy Chemical Co., was presented to Keri L. Diamond, Shailesh N. Shah, Oliver W. Smith, and Shelby F. Thames of The University of Southern Mississippi for study entitled "Kinetic Investigation of Novel Vegetable Oil Derived Macromonomers in both Bulk and Emulsion Polymerization."

Rick Durden, staff, and University of Southern Mississippi students handled on-site administrative details at the conference. Their helpfulness, attention to detail, and Southern hospitality were important to the success of the conference and made everyone's attendance at the conference and stay in New Orleans pleasant.

The next, or 31st, Annual International Symposium will take place on February 18-20, 2004, in New Orleans. Authors should supply preliminary details such as title, abstract and author's name(s) by August 15, 2003. Details about the symposium will be found at or can be obtained by e-mail to