By Kelline Linton, Staff Writer
Dr. Brian Cavitt, assistant professor of chemistry, led a team in publishing research in the September 2007 issue of the Journal for Coatings Technology and Research.
This Journal covers cuttingedge technology and is the leading technical publication of the coating science industry.
“It was quite an honor to be published because this journal is the oldest continuous journal dealing with coatings chemistry. It is very well read internationally,” Cavitt said.
For the research, Cavitt headed a three-student team that included Matthew Mullings, current ACU student; Corry Walker, a Texas Tech Pharmacy School student in Abilene; and Adam McDonough, a medical school student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The team made new sets of compounds that were added to a clear liquid. This liquid was painted onto surfaces and then exposed to light. When the light struck the surfaces, the liquid became hard, or cured.
“What we were trying to determine was how fast or how slow the reactions took place,” Cavitt said.
The research used high-energy light to make the liquid, or polymer, cure rapidly and harden quickly. The surfaces that were exposed to light during the experiment were dry in less than a minute.
“The thrust is to find ways that you can make a paint harden faster,” said Dr. Perry Reeves, professor of chemistry. “You don’t want to have to spray paint a car and then let it sit two or three days before you can touch the surface.”
The new sets of compounds will be used to produce faster and cleaner curing processes.
“Imagine if you painted a room and flashed a light on it, and the room was instantly dry,” said Reeves, who made some of the compounds used in the experiments.
“What we are trying to do is expand the industry in terms of how we can design these chromophores, these light-absorbing compounds, so that we can get new applications out of the deal,” Cavitt said.
The research also focuses on computer-generated models of the chromophores that allows for tailoring of the actual performance of the lightabsorbing compounds.
The liquid coatings created during the experiments are environmentally friendly and do not contain voluble organic compounds. The process is so environmentally friendly that it can be used in food packaging, Cavitt said.
The published research helped support a latest European Union study that investigated the by-products of these reactions and determined that no compounds were released in any harmful concentrations.
Cavitt also published on chromophores in the March 2007 issue of the Journal with two former ACU students Julie Anderson and Evan Hardgrove.
Cavitt plans to present more articles at the International Conference in May 2008 and is currently working on a patent for similar research.