I recently returned from New Orleans, and the 45th Annual International Waterborne, High-Solids and Powder Coatings Symposium. Sponsored by The School of Polymer Science and Engineering at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), all proceeds from the Symposium are used to fund the students and the Polymer Science and Engineering program at USM.

PCI’s tabletop was right next to USM’s exhibit, which was staffed by current USM undergraduate students. I really enjoyed talking to these students about their current research, and what they hope to do after they graduate. The future of the coatings industry is bright! PCI continues to support these students with our Student of the Month at www.pcimag.com. Be sure to check out this page to learn about the USM students who will be graduating soon. Someone may be a good fit for your company.

During the poster session, both undergraduate and graduate USM students presented their research in the form of 27 posters, and spent most of the day discussing their ideas with symposium attendees. Eastman sponsored the student poster awards. Undergraduate poster winners were: 1st Place, Delaney Clouse, Thames-Rawlins Research Group; and 2nd Place, Alexandra Ivey, Thames-Rawlins Research Group. Graduate student poster winners were: 1st Place, Ramesh Ramakrishnan, Nazarenko Research Group; 2nd Place, William Walker, Patton Research Group; and 3rd Place, Jacob Sheckman, Simon Research Group.

Other awards given at the event were the Siltech Best Paper Innovation Award, the Best Student Paper Award and the PCI Award for Technical Excellence (sponsored by our magazine). The Siltech award was given to Weih Lee, Research and Development Scientist at The Sherwin Williams Co. His paper was titled, Cure Kinetics of Epoxy Powder Coatings via Differential Scanning Calorimetry: Implications of Processing and Formulation. The winner of the Best Student Paper award was Corey M. Parada and Robson F. Storey for their paper titled, Functionalization of Polyisobutylene and Polyisobutylene Oligomers via the Ritter Reaction. The PCI Award was presented to Donald Campbell, Product Development Chemist, BASF Corp., Automotive Coatings, for his paper on Calculation of Crosslink Density of Thermoset Polymers: A Simpler Method, which will be published in PCI later this year.

Congratulations to all of the winners. The Waterborne Symposium will be held again in New Orleans next year from February 24-March 1.

Shifting from water to powder, I would like to introduce The PC Kitchen, a new column that our magazine is presenting this month, and that will be featured on a regular basis in PCI. Cleverly written by Kevin Biller (aka Joe Powder) of the Powder Coating Research Group, The PC Kitchen (short for The Powder Coating Kitchen), will address various topics and issues for powder coating formulators – with a fun, culinary theme. Kevin combines his love of food and cooking with his years of knowledge in researching, developing and testing powder coatings.

According to MarketsandMarkets Research, the powder coatings market is projected to reach $13.49 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.75% from 2017 to 2022. The excellent performance properties of powder coatings, as well as the fact that they are solvent-free, are drivers behind this growth.

Our magazine recognizes the importance of this sector of the coatings industry, and has also recently partnered with Kevin in producing an annual event called the Powder Coating Summit (PC Summit), to help powder coating formulators and end users stay up to date on all of the latest trends and technology in the powder coating industry. This year’s PC Summit will be held Oct. 2-3 in Columbus, Ohio. If you are interested in learning more about this event, visit www.powdersummit.com.

We hope Kevin’s PC Kitchen column will also be helpful to those of you who manufacture and use powder coatings, or who are considering entering this arena. If you aren’t familiar with Kevin’s personality and writing style, you are in for a treat. This month’s column can be found here – we hope you enjoy it!