Anthony Lang has been undertaking research on a number of projects in the fields of enhanced durability and corrosion inhibition of surface coatings (over metallic coated steel) while employed with the Steel Research Hub at the University of Wollongong.

Enhanced durability has been an ongoing field of endeavour throughout the history of pre-painted steel coatings since the Chicago based Lithostrip Corporation and Pre Finish Metals discovered a way to successfully bond paint to a galvanized base in the 1950s. UV paint durability is of particular concern in Australia where the intensity of solar radiation in the UV-A and UV-B regions of the solar spectrum substantially exceed that in most parts of the world. As such, paints developed for the Australian environment need to possess specific chemistries capable of withstanding UV-induced degradation, in order for the paints to retain their colour and integrity through the years of service.

John Lysaght, BHP Steel and, more recently, BlueScope have invested over many years in the development of more durable paints and continue to investigate novel approaches to achieve step-changes in performance.

To this end, polymer technologies developed in recent years have been investigated to determine their feasibility as surface coatings. Through the application of novel chemical syntheses in combination with analytical techniques such as FTIR, NMR, mass spectroscopy, optical microscopy, TEM and TMA, it has been possible to demonstrate the potential for the utilisation of the proposed technologies.

Successful development of the proposed paint technologies would open an entirely new group of chemistries to the surface coating world with the consequent, previously unanticipated potential for improvements in paint durability. The new chemistries may also open the door to other aesthetic and functional features that are not within the realm of possibilities of current polymer resin technologies.

Anthony has found returning to a university environment and participating in a cutting-edge research project after many years in industry has been an invigorating and fulfilling venture, stimulating a renewed enjoyment in undertaking purposeful, fundamental research. The ability to interact with a wide array of researchers with differing skillsets and areas of academic interest as well as having access to world-class research facilities with which to undertake the project has made for a thoroughly rewarding experience. A particular highlight for Anthony has been the ability to engage with post-graduate students, researchers and academics from a wide diversity of ethnic and cultural backgrounds who bring such a marvellous range of heritages, perspectives and experiences to both the research work and life, in general, within the university sphere.