Shanti Swarup, Ph.D., will receive the 2021 Roy W. Tess Award from Tim Bunting, Ph.D., chair of the American Chemical Society's Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) Division, in August 2021 during the 262nd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Atlanta, Ga. An evening reception in honor of the Tess award recipient and other PMSE and POLY award winners also will be held at the meeting.
The PMSE Division presents the annual Tess Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to coatings science, engineering, and technology. Funded by a grant from Dr. and Mrs. Roy W. Tess, the purpose of the award is to encourage interest and progress in coatings science technology and engineering and to recognize significant contributions to the field.
Swarup has been a valued contributor to PPG's success for 32 years, with his entire career focused on developing and commercializing novel polymer architectures for the coatings industry. He and his team have developed 220 unique polymers of which 55 are used in commercial coatings. He is named inventor and author on over 600 global patents and publications including 92 granted U.S. Patents and over 20 patents pending review. The polymers described in these patents are used in commercial coatings resulting in over $9 billion in cumulative sales to PPG and address important issues such as worker safety, reduction in CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), waste minimization, improved productivity, performance, and economy.
Swarup was a key contributor to the success of PPG's B1:B2 compact process, which stands for basecoat one, basecoat two, applied wet-on-wet. B1:B2 eliminates a curing step and was first commercialized by BMW in England and then implemented at its assembly plant in South Carolina in 2010. The technology enabled BMW to cut energy consumption at this plant by 30%, reduce CO2 emission by 43%, VOCs by 7%, and reduce process time by 30%. He developed the polymer structures that enabled control of the rheology of the various layers, which in turn controlled the amount of mixing that occurs between the layers. This is important for the overall appearance of the coating stack, as well as the physical properties of the cured film. This technology is now used globally not only at BMW but also at many other automakers.
Swarup recognized that N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent would be regulated out of coatings once being classified as a CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic) substance by the European Union. NMP was the traditional solvent used to make polyurethanes. It is both polar and aprotic with strong solvating power, which makes it extremely difficult to replace. He successfully developed several NMP-free polymers, which required substantial polymer changes and fundamental understanding, for the automotive industry. Since this success, other project teams wishing to remove NMP from their product lines have reached out to him for his expertise.
Swarup and his team developed polymers that are used in automotive Audioguard, a waterborne, spray-applied coating that provides vibration dampening and reduces vehicle noise. He has successfully designed solventborne and waterborne acrylics, polyesters, polyurethanes, and other non-traditional coating polymer chemistries for applications such as high-speed metal coil lines, automotive refinish, packaging, and coatings for polycarbonate optical lenses.
Swarup received the 2008 PPG President's Award, the highest honor PPG grants to project teams, for developing acid etch resistance clear coat technology. In 2016, he was inducted to the life-long PPG Collegium, an organization of PPG Innovative leaders and the highest honor given to PPG employees. Swarup received the 2018 ACS-National Award in Applied Polymer Science, and was named ACS POLY Fellow and ACS PMSE Fellow in 2020. He has maintained active participation in ACS for more than 35 years at the local and national level and served on the Industrial Advisory Board of the Polymer Division for past 10 years. He was recognized by Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association as 2020 Inventor of the year.
Nominations are open for the 2022 Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings. All finalized nominations should be submitted prior to September 1, 2021. To learn more, visit https://pmsedivision.org/roy-tess-award.