In October I had the opportunity to travel with the Chicago Society for Coatings Technology (CSCT) to Purdue University's Calumet campus in Hammond, IN, to learn about its new Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS). The center opened in 2011, and is funded by the Department of Energy and industrial sponsors. This multidisciplinary center’s aim is to apply state-of-the-art technology to industrial and community problems. To date, it has collaborated with over 50 organizations, including small businesses and multinational corporations, and has reached over $30 million in savings and cost avoidances for a number of industries.

CIVS uses simulation to create real phenomena within a computer for predicting behaviors. Visualization allows CIVS to create 3-D imaging and virtual-reality environments. The facility includes a 70-seat theater with a large-scale 3-D virtual reality system that allows visitors to explore virtual worlds, a video conferencing facility connected to the theater to allow for both local and remote conferencing, a simulation lab, and a visualization lab.

Just a few of the 117+ completed CIVS projects include: Optimization of Coal-Fired Power Plant Exhaust Air Ducts; Thermal Stress Analysis of Exhaust Manifolds; Microfluidics Visualization; Simulation of a Blast Furnace Hearth; National Debt Visualization; Optimization of an Industrial Boiler Firing; Protein Structure Visualization; Virtual Wind Turbine Aerodynamics Simulator; and Spine Biomechanics Visualization.

According to Chenn Q. Zhou, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies; Director, Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation; and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University Calumet, “We specialize in integrating simulation and visualization technologies to solve real-world problems. Our close interactions with industry and other organizations create win-win partnerships that provide excellent economic and educational benefits to our partners as well as great experiential learning opportunities to our students.”

Possible applications in the coatings industry include air flow and design for fans and spray booths, heat transfer efficiency, polymer design, reaction kinetics chemistry, mixer efficiency/design, and spray gun efficiency/design. There really is no limit to the kinds of projects this program can work on. For more information about the CIVS center, e-mail

The CIVS demonstration was part of the CSCT’s October meeting, which also included a talk on waterborne polyurethane chemistry by George E. Snow, Senior R&D Chemist, Lubrizol, and presentations by two Purdue professors, Libbie Pelter and Maria O. Longas. Both women utilized the 3-D theater to demonstrate how students use the CIVS program to learn about molecular modeling and visualization.

This trip was a nice end to a busy year of keeping up with all the latest technology in the coatings industry. I’m looking forward to more of the same in 2013. On behalf of the entire PC Istaff, I would like to thank all of our readers, advertisers and contributors for your continued support of our magazine, and wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.