Coatings are one of the pillars of ARC CBBC: the consortium has the intention to enable a ‘greener’ approach to the design and manufacturing of paints and coatings, thereby aiming for a more sustainable future. By rethinking the way chemical building blocks could be applied in future coatings, we will explore new chemistry for the purpose of product enhancement.

We will make polymer films more durable and easier curable, adding functionalities as fouling prevention and for the purpose of enhancing the sustainability profile of paints and lacquers. This will also enable the replacement of crude oil-based chemicals for renewable resources, using environmentally-benign and human-friendly components.

We are working on sustainably sourced carbon building blocks for coating binders, as well as on novel homogeneous catalysts to produce these advanced and functional coatings. Novel molecules are expected not only to improve coating performance and green coating production, but also to contribute to a more sustainable use of coated materials in general.

Multilateral research projects on Coatings

Coatings: Cross-linking in waterborne coatings with new building blocks

ARC CBBC aims to replace fossil-based feedstock with bio-based materials and to further develop water-based paints. It will reduce the market share of the traditional solvent-based paints and lacquers. Additionally, we want to improve product properties. AkzoNobel, BASF, and Nouryon all contribute with their product knowledge on coatings and are hopeful that the expertise in chemical synthesis, chemical conversion and catalysis, colloid chemistry, and bio-based materials, all particular strengths of the academic research groups in the Netherlands, will contribute to design the coatings of the future.


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Ben Feringa

Professor of Organic chemistry
University of Groningen

André van Linden

Director Coatings technology

Bilateral projects on Coatings

Styrene-free Vinylester Ene-monomer Curing Technology

Current vinylester based coatings employ styrene to achieve the desired balance of viscosity and final coating properties. The drive towards sustainability and minimizing environmental impact stimulates the replacement of potentially volatile components, namely styrene, with nonvolatile co-monomers that can be derived from renewable feedstocks. Existing coating formulations are optimized towards the use of cobalt catalysts and in hence this bilateral project will focus on iron based catalysts to ensure that the monomers are selected to be optimized from the outset with the next generation of curing catalysts. The scientific ambition of this project is to understand and match the reactivity of monomers through kinetic analysis with spectroscopy methods. This knowledge will enable creation of the next generation of styrene and cobalt free performance coatings.

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New strategies for the formation and selective reactions of radical and carbene species using economical reagents

At the moment, carbene species are generated from expensive reagents, e.g. diazo compounds. In this proposal, new routes to carbene species will be investigated, making use of economical and readily available reagents. Limited selectivity often hampers the use of radical reactions. The development of metal mediated selective radical formation and reactions from economical reagents will be studied. The new methods will be first applied to monomeric molecules; the most promising ones will be investigated for the synthesis of new polymeric materials.

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New Catalysts for Epoxy – Carboxylic Acid Crosslinkable Coatings

This project aims at the development of new catalysts for curing reactions of crosslinkable high-performance coatings, consisting of epoxy- and carboxylic acid functional materials. The goal is to significantly reduce the operating temperatures required to obtain a high degree of crosslinking within reasonable timeframes, while simultaneously maintaining high chemoselectivity. Consequentially, this leads to an increased application range and reduces overall energy consumption.

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Polyester synthesis using novel and efficient esterification catalysts

Aim of this project is to develop new catalysts for polyester syntheses with an attractive environmental and economic profile. These catalysts will lead to more eco-friendly processes and will broaden the scope of raw materials (including renewable-based raw materials) that can be used in polyester syntheses.

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Cobalt-free curing of alkyds and of vinylester-styrene coatings

Many coatings dry via chemical crosslinking reactions, which are catalyzed by transition metal complexes. The toxicity of some of these metals is under review currently. In this project, we will search for alternative catalysts based on transition metals that avoid potential toxicity.

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Development of biobased coatings

This project will explore new sustainable building blocks for coatings based on renewable materials.  The use of green building blocks for coatings and paint applications and the development of sustainable chemical transformations towards these materials is a highly desirable goal. Here photo- or redox- mediated chemical synthesis will be used to convert carbohydrates into building blocks that can replace current monomers in coatings formulations. In this project we aim to demonstrate the use of bio-based feedstock, low-waste sustainable transformations using light or electricity, novel monomers and cross-linkers and  ‘step-in solution’  for some current coating formulations.

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Enhanced waterborne coatings through increased understanding of stratification mechanisms & control of particle distributions

Several desired properties of paints and coatings are believed to be closely linked to the distribution of the different coating components, e.g. latex particles, pigments or colloidal silica, in the coating layer. This project will build the necessary fundamental understanding of how parameters like rheology, drying and particle properties govern the movement of the coating components in the paint layer during the time from application to a dry paint film and their final distribution in the coating. Indeed, studies of the movement of components in full paint formulations are challenging. The research will therefore necessarily start with simple systems
(only 2-3 components) and complexity will then gradually be added to the system.

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Smart waterborne coatings with tunable barrier properties

Waterborne acrylic emulsion polymers are widely used coating materials due to their excellent properties and low cost. Although good barrier properties for a variety of migrants can be achieved, their performance is often insufficient for highly demanding applications due to their intrinsic non-zero permeability for both polar and non-polar migrants. Barrier properties can be enhanced by blending in impermeable materials. Following an entirely new strategy, in the current proposal we develop unprecedented polymer coatings having tunable barrier properties allowing selective interception of migrants.

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