The biannual Nürnberg Congress, held in conjunction with the European Coatings Show in May 2007, hit an all-time high in terms of attendees, presentation quality, enthusiasm and a pervasive sense of R&D excitement.

The biannual Nürnberg Congress, held in conjunction with the European Coatings Show in May 2007, hit an all-time high in terms of attendees, presentation quality, enthusiasm and a pervasive sense of R&D excitement. I touched on this briefly in a prior column and just want to add a few more remarks. The Congress opened with a message from Dr. Barbara Brune, Editor in Chief of the European Coatings Journal, – “partnerships and cooperations that create win-win situations are of incredible importance these days” – in short “let’s shape the future together.” And indeed the scientific community came together to share and shape the future. Approximately 750 scientists attended the 150 presentation sessions on coatings, inks, adhesives, construction materials, production technology, purchasing and legislation.

The tone was set by the Keynote presentation given by Virgil Percec from the University of Pennsylvania and titled “Ultrafast Synthesis of Ultrahigh Molar Mass Polymers by SET-LRP of Acrylates, Methacrylates and Vinyl Halides at Room Temperature.” For those not familiar with the technique, controlled or single electron transfer (SET) living radical polymerization (LRP) provides tremendous control over the molecular structure of large macromolecules and, therefore, provides the ability to design unique and novel copolymer architecture. For instance, one could build a monodispersed polymeric binder or additive with the molecular size and structure desired. There are dispersing additives on the market that are like this. This approach is not like the established atom transfer polymerization technique and has a lot of people very excited as it could lead to a new generation of coatings polymers.

Many papers focused on polymer technology, with core-shell latex particles receiving a great deal of attention as they can incorporate functional groups such as metallic nanoparticles and enzymes. Also of interest are polysilazanes (polymers of silicon, nitrogen and hydrogen), and organopolysilazanes, which also contain carbon and are being used for ultrathin coatings with multifunctional properties. The polysilazanes are very reactive and chemically bond to most substrates, and they can be combined with acrylic or urethane systems or with nano-sized metal oxides to produce coatings with specific enhanced properties.

Nanotechnology of course was the subject of several papers; one of the discussions focused on different classes of high solids nanobinders based on oxides of Si, Ti, Al and Zr to improve wear resistance, high temperature stability and coating shrinkage. The processing is done by sol-gel techniques followed by emulsion precipitation processes to provide nanobinders with very good storage stabilities and high solids contents.

Attention was also focused on thermo-control pigments. We have in fact been covering this topic in PCI with several features of late. These near-IR reflective pigments have numerous applications for exterior surfaces and have great economic and ecological benefit for consumers. Pigment dispersions and newer technology to offer significant performance and color improvement, cost savings and more-efficient processing times were also hot topics.

Licensing and technology transfer were other areas of interest – discussing research collaboration of suppliers and manufacturers with International Research Institutes and Universities in the field of basic and applied research. I found a paper presented by SensaDyne Instrument Division particularly interesting, as I did not know that SensaDyne was originally founded on technology transfer from academia.

The Congress Best Paper Award was presented to Dr. Rolf Dersch, BASF AG. His paper will be published in the October issue of PCI magazine. Three years of research were committed to the endeavor with the result being that the new hybrid can meet future environmental standards now.

There is so much more to say and simply a lack of space to do so, but I would suggest making plans now to attend in 2009.