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NDSU Researchers Receive Competitive Coatings Award

Fargo, N.D. — Two NDSU researchers have received a prestigious Roon Award at the 2011 CoatingsTech Conference, held March 14-16 in Rosemont, Ill.

Samim Alam, graduate student in the NDSU Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials, and Bret Chisholm, senior research scientist at the NDSU Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, received the first place award for their technical paper titled “Coatings Derived from Novel, Soybean Oil-Based Polymers Produced Using Living Carbocationic Polymerization.

Currently, organic chemicals are almost entirely derived from building blocks that are obtained from natural gas, petroleum, and coal. Since fossil resources are limited, there is an ongoing need to develop useful chemicals from renewable resources.

The research conducted by Samim Alam and Bret Chisholm focuses on a process developed to obtain vinylether-functional monomers containing fatty acid pendent groups directly from soybean oil, using base-catalyzed transesterification. Results demonstrated that the use of the soybean oil-derived vinylether monomers (polyVESFA) or its derivatives, in place of soybean oil or its derivatives, offers tremendous advantages in a variety of coating systems.

Based on the research results obtained by Alam and Chisholm, it appears that the novel soybean oil based polymer, polyVESFA, may have significant commercial potential in the coatings industry and the researchers have filed a provisional patent application. The North Dakota Soybean Council provided funding for the research.

The Roon Awards are considered one of the coatings industry’s highest technical achievements and are given for best technical papers submitted for consideration as part of the 2011 American Coatings Conference technical program.

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