Chemist, firm work on paint project

By Michael McCulloh

With help of a $100,000 state grant, an NIU chemist and a Kane County research firm will work on developing a paint manufacturing product that is better for the environment.

Professor Chhiu-Tsu-Lin, NIU’s principal investigator, will be working along with Finishes Unlimited to simplify the process in developing a phosphate paint system.

“We’re developing a paint coating which won’t need to be phosphatized in a separate step,” said Finished Unlimited President Henry Godshalk.

If a new process can be developed it will eliminate the need for phosphatizing baths. The components used in phosphatizing baths are diffucult to dispose of and will save waste disposal problems, Godshalk said.

Lin said the new process has many benefits. “we want to eliminate the volatized organic components that normally accompany the process of coating and painting.

“The current method is a multistate process and requires more labor. We’re trying to simplify the process,” Lin said.

Finishes Unlimited contacted NIU because the company needed help in solving some technical problems, Godshalk said. “We wouldn’t (have) achieved what we did without NIU,” he said.

Gov. James Thompson said Thursday the joint development was a model of cooperation between public and private sectors that could mean economic and environmental benefits for Illinois.

The grant is among 36 technology challenge grants issued by Thompson for educational, business and industrial projects. All together, the grants total $12.3 million.

Lin said tests have shown the process is feasible. He said he hopes to have more accomplished in a year.