ARC Linkage project with Dulux Australia

Developing nanoscale additives for functional paint
A long-standing successful collaboration between industry and academia has brought together chemical experts in the area of polymer nanoparticle synthesis and stabilisation with those in the area of surface coatings.

DuluxGroup Australia is a leading supplier of waterborne architectural coatings in the Australian market, and the only Australian company listed in the top 100 paint companies in the world (ranked 19th). The company has been collaborating with the Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids at the University of Sydney for the past 18 years.

Associate Professor Brian Hawkett and Professor Chiara Neto were awarded $660,683 in Australian Research Council Linkage funding in 2018 to work with DuluxGroup (Australia) Pty Ltd. This project aims to create an advanced micro-capsule system to be used in the manufacturing of high-performance waterborne paints on a large scale.

Surface coatings seal, strengthen and decorate the majority of surfaces in the building industry. Despite their importance, advances in paint science have only been incremental and a truly stain-resistant, robust and environmentally friendly coating has yet to be developed.

This project will use polymer Janus nanoparticles to radically redesign architectural coatings. The goal of this will be to reduce the use of non-renewable components and increase stain-resistance and durability in paint. This new technology will lead to less disruption for the environment and important economic and technological benefits for Australia.

Dulux has selected Sydney Nano members as partners for the project for a variety of reasons:

  • high level of expertise and research strengths in relevant fields supported by the state-of-the-art infrastructure;
  • the opportunity to involve researchers covering a wide range of scientific disciplines;
  • potential to extend the applications of the technology in undiscovered areas;
  • hands-on approach to running the project and delivering results.  

The collaboration has been funded for the past 15 years through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage scheme.

“There is no better example of industrial collaboration than this. Dulux has drawn on the important polymer research discovery of CSIRO in RAFT mediated polymerisation and its application to emulsion polymerisation with the assistance of the Hawkett group at The University Sydney. This research collaboration was established in 1999 and has gone on continuously, generating six new patent families.”
Tim Davey, Dulux Australia research manager

Brian Hawkett

Director, Key Centre For Polymer Colloids
  • +61 2 9351 8651
  • Room 351 School of Chemistry F11

Chiara Neto

Professor of Physical Chemistry and Australian Research Council Future Fellow
  • +61 2 9351 3329
  • Room 349, Level 3 School of Chemistry F11