INDIANAPOLIS - At the American Coatings Conference, which took place May 7-9 in Indianapolis, more than 1,000 attendees learned about the most recent research results and industrial developments in 16 thematically structured sessions. The American Coatings Award, presented by the American Coatings Association and Vincentz Network, honors the most outstanding conference paper. This year, Dr. Antony Van Dyk, Global Research & Development Leader for Dispersants and Project Leader for Rheology Modifiers of Dow Coating Materials, and Dr. Alan Nakatani, a Senior Research Scientist in the Core Research & Development Analytical Sciences Rheology Group for The Dow Chemical Co., were honored with the 2012 American Coatings Award for their paper documenting a sophisticated approach for accurately measuring quality metrics of a widely used white pigment, titanium dioxide (TiO2), in paint.

The award-winning presentation, titled “Shear Rate Dependent Structure of Polymer Stabilized TiO2 Dispersions,” documents a series of studies that Van Dyk conducted with Nakatani to learn how TiO2 responds to forces that occur when paint is stirred or applied to a surface with a brush, roller or sprayer.

The studies employed an advanced technique called Rheo Ultra Small-Angle Neutron Scattering, or Rheo-USANS, to pinpoint conditions under which aggregates of small TiO2 particles break apart or cluster together in liquid paint. Van Dyk and Nakatani identified polymers that work best to keep the particles well dispersed; the ability to control the dispersion leads directly to improved coatings - advances that are already being incorporated into new products.