Jiang lab helps industry develop biobased functional coatings using nanotechnology

Assistant Professor, Shan Jiang, one of Materials Science and Engineering’s newest faculty members, joined the department in 2016. Prior to becoming an assistant professor at Iowa State, Jiang spent three years working at The Dow Chemical Company as a project leader. His research was primarily focused on waterborne latex coating. Jiang brought a wealth of industry experience to the team that has allowed him to help bridge a gap between industry and academic research. He recently published a review paper of coating materials on the prestigious Chemical Society Reviews (impact factor 38.6) and was awarded a research grant to work with Siegwerk and Inland Packaging, to develop a biobased UV blocking coating with nanotechnology.

Jiang’s Soft Matter and Nanoengineering lab now has 12 scientists and students exploring the fundamental science of polymeric materials and nanoparticles. Jiang’s recent research in coating materials has been influential for both industry and academia. His connections from The Dow Chemical Company allow for a unique collaboration on the review article in the Chemical Society Reviews. The review paper summarizes the innovations and new technologies developed recently for coating materials. It also reports the progress and perspective of where the authors see the field going in the future.

Jiang said, “This paper is unique because usually review papers are only about academic progress. This paper is a combination of what we’ve done in the university and what we’ve done in the industry. The perspective is that we need more cross-talk and also need to bridge fundamentals to the final application. It takes both sides of industry and academia to talk to each other.”

Because of Jiang’s expertise and new ideas in coating applications, he has recently pursued and was selected for a one-year project through the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), an industrial and academic consortium. CB2 is supported by the National Science Foundation and industrial partners to pool together university resources and industrial expertise, collaborate on research projects, and provide funding for faculty. Jiang’s research proposal was selected to develop a new biobased UV blocking coating in collaboration with Siegwerk, an international ink company located in Des Moines, Iowa, and Inland Packaging company, a producer of flexible packaging located in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.

“We have been successful at combining the industry interest with cutting edge research. We are showing that fundamental research at Iowa State can directly impact the industry and help companies like Siegwerk and Inland Packaging develop products to fulfill their immediate business needs,” said Jiang.

Graduate students Emily Olson and Yifan Li will lead the experimental efforts. Undergraduate student Ana Miller is also participating the research. Postdoc Fei Liu, graduate students Kyle Miller and Ayuna Tsyrenova have also been helping with the project. The Jiang lab team will also work closely with advisors from industry: Dr. Brian Tlach and Dr. Ben Caes from Siegwerk, and Innovation Specialist, Trent Glendenning, from Inland Packaging.

Professor Shan Jiang is pictured with MSE graduate students, Emily Olson and Yifan Li.
Professor Shan Jiang is pictured with MSE graduate students, Emily Olson and Yifan Li.