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PPG and Berkeley National Lab receive DOE funding for sustainable coatings development

| By Mary Bailey

PPG (Pittsburgh, Pa.) announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) for a research initiative aimed at developing energy-efficient coatings systems for the automotive industry. The PPG project – “Modeling Coating Flow and Dynamics during Drying” – was selected to receive funding through the DOE High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) program.

PPG scientists will collaborate with LBNL experts to model the complex physics that contribute to paint flow and leveling in a two-layer coatings system. The insight gained will accelerate the introduction of new multi-layer coatings systems that can be co-cured in a single, lower-temperature bake, reducing paint line energy consumption for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) by up to 30%.

“Beyond the energy savings achieved from fewer curing steps and faster process times, our research will provide a foundation for future models for water-based coatings and lighter-weight vehicle substrates,” said Xinyu Lu, PPG development engineer, automotive OEM coatings. “PPG is at the forefront of coatings technologies that can help vehicle manufacturers significantly reduce their costs and environmental footprints.”

The PPG initiative was one of 11 research projects selected in the latest HPC4EI award cycle. PPG has worked with the HPC4EI program over many years to advance programs that increase automotive manufacturing throughput and enable vehicle lightweighting. In 2019, PPG also received a DOE grant to study the aging characteristics of a new generation of structural adhesives needed to join high-strength steel, aluminum, magnesium and other substrates that can help reduce vehicle mass and increase fuel economy.