A Conversation With ... Jamil Baghdachi


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Jamil Baghdachi is the author of more than 111 technical publications and originator of 38 patents. He has been actively involved in coatings and polymer development, coating formulation, adhesion and corrosion science, durability and performance assessment, application, training and troubleshooting for nearly three decades, and currently serves as professor and director of the Coating Research Institute (CRI) at Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti). Products Finishing recently caught up with Dr. Baghdachi to find out a bit more about the man, the Institute and its work.

How did you become involved with the finishing industry?

JB: During academic training in polymeric materials I became interested in industrial applications of polymers in a variety of commercial products such as adhesives, coatings and plastics. Such interest provided me an opportunity to work in industrial settings from raw material suppliers and manufacturers to users of coatings for more than 20 years before joining the CRI. While in industry, I became interested in providing training and consulting in finishing technologies, which also allowed ample opportunity for me to work with users, chemists, designers and engineers in these industries.

Tell us about your involvement with the CRI.

JB: The Coating Research Institute is engaged in contract research and development, testing and in consulting on all aspects of finishing, polymers, material science, problem solving and professional training. The projects at the CRI are carried out by tenured professors with prior industrial experience, staff researchers, PhD., Master and undergraduate students. As a professor and Director of CRI, I am responsible for day-to-day operation of the organization.

Can you give our readers a brief rundown on the Institute, how it operates and its work?

JB: The CRI was founded in 1985 as an extension of the Polymers and Coatings Department to conduct contract research and development work in finishing, coatings and polymers technologies. In 1990, a National Science Foundation grant was obtained to establish a new Industry/University Research Center in Coatings. In 1993, the Emission Evaluation Center was established to help the industry more effectively deal with solvent and odor emissions. Over the years, the Center has been involved in investigating and resolving a wide variety of the finishing industry’s pressing issues, including volatile organic compound (VOC) reduction/elimination, improving durability and performance, corrosion and scratch resistance, and new raw materials and coatings developments. Clients of the CRI range from small businesses to large coatings manufacturers, finishers, raw materials suppliers and government agencies. For details on the CRI’s history, mission, capabilities and equipment please visit www.emich.edu/cri.

Anything else I should have asked or you’d like to tell our readers?

JB: The academic part of the CRI provides training at both undergraduate and graduate levels, a Master of Science in polymers and coatings; and a PhD. in technology. The program enjoys a 100% placement rate, with more than 95% of students receiving scholarships and financial aid. Graduates of the program find employment in all sectors of industry.

We would like to extend an invitation to interested readers to visit the CRI and become familiar with its technical capabilities and educational programs.