Q. I am a chemist/materials scientist for an electronics manufacturer, and wish to increase our knowledge and understanding of paints and surface coatings to enable us to correctly identify the proper chemistry, surface preparation and processing conditions needed for a variety of applications within our manufacturing facilities.
Do you offer training courses or training materials that will help get us started? As a former adhesives development chemist, I am acutely aware of the tremendous complexity of paint chemistry! But we need to begin somewhere. Can you offer advice? R.L.
A. I do not offer training courses in coatings technology, but I can aim you in the right direction. As an adhesives development chemist, you are more than half way to your goal. In most cases, the same polymeric materials are used for adhesives and coatings. The same rules apply to pretreatment of adhesives and to coatings substrates. They must be clean, free from oily soils and particulates. Here are a few more steps you can take to increase your knowledge base:
- Get a copy of Industrial Painting by Norman R. Roobal. It contains most of what you need to know about painting and solving paint problems.
- Join and participate in the technical societies, specifically the American Coatings Association and the AFP (Association of Finishing Processes of SME). This will allow you to associate and interact with other professionals in the coatings field.
- Read the technical magazines, specifically Products Finishing, Coatings Technology and Coatings World. This will allow you to keep up-to-date on the latest advances in the field of painting and coatings technology.
- Attend coatings-related shows and conferences.
- Develop a relationship with paint suppliers. I know they have to sell paint to make a living. However, you would be surprised at what you can learn about the industry by just listening to them.
- If you want to get into formulating coatings, several universities have paint technology courses. Among them are North Dakota State University and the University of Southern Mississippi. See our full education report here.