The University of Southern Mississippi's school of Polymers and High Performance Materials sponsored the 31st Annual International Waterborne, High-Solids and Powder Coatings Symposium® at the New Orleans Marriott on February 17-29, 2004. About 275 scientists from Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States attended the symposium.

The authors of the papers that were presented outdid themselves in quality for this meeting. The various papers contained a wealth of useful information that could be used both today and to guide future studies in the coatings arena. This year the symposium began with a morning session featuring four Keynote Lectures that dealt with:

  • the application of fluidics for high-throughput characterization and optimization of coating formulations;
  • ultraviolet and electron beam radiation technology;
  • the use of market research as a force driving technology development;
  • how to meet the challenges of present and future air-quality regulations.
The latter paper was a particularly readable and understandable discussion of governmental regulations relative to the coatings industry.

The symposium was comprised of 35 additional papers that covered a variety of topics, including additives; new or revived products; pigments; powder coatings, including low-temperature-cure powders; nanocomposites of polymer and clay; polyurethanes; fire-resistant coatings; as well as radiation-curable and waterborne systems. Special topics included polymeric liquid crystals with variable color capabilities and effects; microbial oxidation as an alternative to thermal oxidation; film formation by means of self-assembly and interfacial stratification; breathable polyurethane films; film-forming polymers for personal care; and surface modification to alter the "soft-feel" properties of films by conventional and ultraviolet radiation means. Eight presentations were concerned with additives, six with pigment technology, five with polyurethanes including waterborne, three with powder coatings, and two with radiation-cure systems. The remainder dealt with waterborne latexes and dispersions, solvents and special items as mentioned above. All sessions were well attended.

The Seventh Technology Showcase provided a meeting place for formal and informal interaction between attendees during the daily breaks and certain evening functions. The showcase consisted of 16 booths that had product information and coatings technology, as well as a refreshment area. Eastman Chemical Company provided a Mardi Gras-themed reception one evening at the House of Blues that was located near the meeting hotel.

GE Silicones and OSi Specialties hosted the 2004 Paper Awards Ceremony and Reception. As in past years, the manuscripts submitted and presented at this symposium were evaluated and rated by well-known, independent judges who determined their technological significance, scientific merit, originality or novelty, and written manuscript clarity as well as the quality of oral presentation. The four 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, sponsored by BP Chemicals, Ltd., went to Nancy Cliff and Mouhcine Kanouni, Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corp., and Cindy Peters, Ford Research Laboratories, for their investigation of the "The Use of Reactable Light Stabilizers to Prevent Migration and to Improve Durability of Coatings on Plastic Substrates." This research, as the topic indicates, dealt with the functionalization of stabilizers with a group that would co-react into the coating and thus prevent migration and leaching with the result being improved coating durability under performance conditions.

The Outstanding Coatings Technologies First Place Paper Award of $3000, sponsored by PCI Magazine, was awarded to Alan J. Fream, Eliokem Inc., and Serge Magnet, Eliokem SAS, for their study of "The Development of Novel Latexes for Fire-Resistant, Intumescent Coatings." The investigation involved the use of thin-film intumescent coatings for the protection of structural steel against fire. The Outstanding Coatings Technologies Second Place Paper Award of $2000, sponsored by Southern Diversified Products LLC, was presented to Ernest C. Galgoci, Steven Y. Chan and Khalil Yacoub, Air Products and Chemicals Inc., for their research study entitled "Novel Coating Additives Based on Gemini Surfactant Technology." This investigation dealt with the efficacy of the Gemini surfactants to function as low-foam surfactants, surface tension reducers, substrate wetting improvers, and other related properties.

The Elias Singer Outstanding Student Paper Award of $1000, sponsored by Troy Chemical Co., was presented to W. Reid Dreher and Marek W. Urban for their work entitled "Novel Synthesis of F-Containing Colloidal Dispersions and Film Formation via Self Assembly and Interfacial Stratification". This award was judged and selected by University staff members.

Drs. Robson F. Storey, Shelby F. Thames, Marek W. Urban and Douglas A. Wicks organized the symposium. Mr. Rick Durden, Ms. Laura Fosselman, staff, and The 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 32nd Annual International Waterborne, High-Solids and Powder Coatings Symposium will be held February 2-4, 2005, at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans, LA. Interested authors are invited to supply preliminary details such as title, abstract and author's name(s) with speaker's name underlined by no later than July 30, 2004 to Details about the symposium will be found at, or via e-mail at