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J Comb Chem. 2005 Mar-Apr;7(2):190-6.

Development of combinatorial chemistry methods for coatings: high-throughput weathering evaluation and scale-up of combinatorial leads.

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General Electric Company, Global Research Center, Niskayuna, New York 12309, USA.


Combinatorial screening of materials formulations followed by the scale-up of combinatorial leads has been applied for the development of high-performance coating materials for automotive applications. We replaced labor-intensive coating formulation, testing, and measurement with a "combinatorial factory" that includes robotic formulation of coatings, their deposition as 48 coatings on a 9x12-cm plastic substrate, accelerated performance testing, and automated spectroscopic and image analysis of resulting performance. This high-throughput (HT) performance testing and measurement of the resulting properties provided a powerful set of tools for the 10-fold accelerated discovery of these coating materials. Performance of coatings is evaluated with respect to their weathering, because this parameter is one of the primary considerations in end-use automotive applications. Our HT screening strategy provides previously unavailable capabilities of (1) high speed and reproducibility of testing by using robotic automation and (2) improved quantification by using optical spectroscopic analysis of discoloration of coating-substrate structure and automatic imaging of the integrity loss of coatings. Upon testing, the coatings undergo changes that are impossible to quantitatively predict using existing knowledge. Using our HT methodology, we have developed several cost-competitive coatings leads that match the performance of more costly coatings. These HT screening results for the best coating compositions have been validated on the traditional scales of coating formulation and weathering testing. These validation results have confirmed the improved weathering performance of combinatorially developed coatings over conventional coatings on the traditional scale.

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