For Immediate Release
NDSU contact: Carol Renner, 701.231.5174
Akzo Nobel contact: Holger Ebbighausen +31 26 366 43 43
NDSU Research Foundation licenses breakthrough aerospace primer technology
NDSU Research Foundation and Akzo Announce Licensing Agreement
October 16, 2006, Fargo, N.D. –– What termites do to houses, corrosion does to aircraft. Researchers at North Dakota State University (NDSU), Fargo, have developed a new primer technology for coating aluminum aircraft structures to protect them from corrosion. Akzo Nobel’s Aerospace Coatings business, ANAC, Arnhem, the Netherlands, has announced that it is to supply the first products to contain the breakthrough chromate-free technology, following the signing of a commercial licensing agreement with the NDSU Research Foundation.
The new primer technology developed at NDSU is based on magnesium, rather than chromate, which is highly regulated in the U.S. and is coming under increasing pressure in Europe. This pioneering corrosion inhibiting technology—the first to be as effective as chromate—will now be incorporated into some of Akzo Nobel’s aerospace coating products.
Chromate-free primers have existed for many years, but despite being more environmentally-friendly, none provide the anti-corrosive properties of chromate, which is highly effective at inhibiting corrosion of the high strength aluminum alloys used to manufacture aircraft. What’s remarkable about the new magnesium technology formulated at NDSU and now being utilized by Akzo Nobel is the fact that it’s the first non-chrome corrosion inhibiting system to perform as well as chromate in laboratory testing.
“Akzo Nobel is always striving to develop and embrace innovative technology and what’s special about this agreement is that it also has positive implications for the environment,” said Akzo Nobel CEO Hans Wijers, who is also the company’s Board member responsible for Coatings. “We will be the only paint manufacturer to use this state-of-the-art technology which represents another significant coup for our Aerospace Coatings business.”
“We are delighted that the world’s largest coatings company has agreed to license this pioneering technology,” commented NDSU President Joseph A. Chapman. “It’s particularly satisfying for our researchers, who have worked long and hard to develop this unique primer.” The coating developed at NDSU will not only eliminate the need for using hazardous chromate-based materials, but will also provide longer-lasting corrosion protection.
NDSU researchers Drs. Gordon Bierwagen, Michael Nanna and Dante Battocchi developed the new aluminum primer coating. “This magnesium-rich coating represents a breakthrough in coatings technology,” said Bierwagen, chair of NDSU’s Department of Coatings & Polymeric Materials.
NDSU became involved in U.S. Air Force coatings research after receiving a $2 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. With assistance from U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, NDSU researchers received additional supplementary grants totaling $7 million to further their coatings research. “This licensing agreement is an indication that our efforts to establish NDSU as one of the world’s best facilities for coatings research are bearing fruit,” Senator Dorgan said. “This is another boost for the Red River Valley Research Corridor that will help bring more high-tech research and good-paying jobs to NDSU and the surrounding region.”
The patent pending coating developed at NDSU has been field tested in partnership with private industry and at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. “Commercial and military aircraft manufacturers have already expressed an interest in
the technology developed at NDSU,” said Philip Boudjouk, Ph.D., vice president for research, creative activities and
technology transfer. “Development of this exceptional coating is the result of research expertise available at NDSU, in partnership with federal agencies and the private sector,” he said.
Using the new technology will have cost benefits for airlines because it will remove the need for mandatory extra control measures designed to reduce exposure to chromate. Primers utilizing the magnesium inhibiting pigments also have the potential to be lower in density than chromate primers, which will reduce weight and result in lower fuel consumption.
“Akzo Nobel is actively working with aircraft manufacturers and specifying authorities to finalize formulations utilizing this breakthrough technology,” added Wijers, CEO of Akzo Nobel, who hailed the successful partnership between the Aerospace Coatings business and NDSU. He also said that the company expects to commercialize at least one of these primers containing the magnesium pigment during 2007.
With a reputation for excellence in teaching and multidisciplinary research, North Dakota State University, Fargo, links academics to real world opportunities. At the 55-acre NDSU Research & Technology Park, faculty, staff and students work with private sector researchers on cutting-edge projects. The Scientist magazine places NDSU among the top 35 research institutions in North America for individuals pursuing postdoctoral positions. As a metropolitan land grant institution with more than 12,000 students, NDSU is listed in the top 100 of several National Science Foundation annual research expenditure rankings in the areas of physical sciences, engineering and chemistry. The NDSU Research & Technology Park has received an Award of Excellence in Technology-Led Economic Development from the U.S. Department of Commerce. www.ndsu.edu
About the NDSU Research Foundation
The NDSU Research Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports NDSU in its teaching, research and public service missions. The Foundation manages the intellectual properties developed by faculty and staff doing research at NDSU and facilitates commercialization of these technologies. www.ndsuresearchfoundation.org
About Akzo Nobel – Global Leader in Coatings
Akzo Nobel is the world’s largest coatings manufacturer. The company achieved global sales in coatings of EUR 5.56 billion in 2005 and commands leading market positions in nearly all its coatings businesses. Akzo Nobel develops, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality products and services for most market segments. The company’s extensive portfolio includes decorative paints; products for industrial applications such as powder, wood, coil and specialty coatings; automotive refinishes; marine, protective and aerospace coatings; and coatings related products such as wood and building adhesives. Brands include global and household names such as Crown®, International®, Sikkens®, Interpon®, Levis® and Sadolin®.