YPSILANTI, MI — Eastern Michigan University (EMU) said it has received its largest single gift ever — the donation of more than 20 U.S. coatings patents from ExxonMobil Chemical Co. The donation also includes more than 50 patent and patent-application equivalents worldwide.

The patents will be used to develop new technologies at the university’s Coatings Research Institute (CRI), and the university is studying licensing possibilities, said EMU’s Frank N. Jones.

The patents cover compositions, synthesis and applications of three different classes of materials: polyester diols with ultra-low viscosity; a phenolic ester alcohol (PHEA) reactive diluent; and phenol-terminated polyester (PTE) resins. Jones and EMU students assisted ExxonMobil in the development of five of the U.S. patents.

Development of the low-viscosity polyester diol technology could result in coatings formulations with sharply reduced or no organic solvents in industrial coatings, Coatings Research Institute representatives said. The PHEA reactive diluent can improve coating toughness and hardness while also reducing VOC content, and use of PTE resins can improve coating weatherability, Jones said.

“We are in the best position to do something with the patents because we know the technology,” Jones said. “This will give EMU faculty and students an opportunity to be involved with exciting new areas of coatings technology and to potentially produce income that will help the coatings program and the university.”