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Axalta’s Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of Pennsylvania Features Presentation on Methathesis Polymerization


Nobel Prize laureate Professor Robert H. Grubbs, Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, was the honored speaker at the Axalta Distinguished Lectures Series sponsored by Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, and hosted by the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Grubbs’ lecture titled, The Design and Applications of Selective Olefin Metathesis Catalysts, explained how novel catalysts break and create new chemical bonds to produce a wide range of organic molecules and polymers with unique properties.

Olefin metathesis catalysts can have broad applications for polymerizing new molecules. Professor Grubbs and his laboratory team at the California Institute of Technology are focused on the rapid screening of new catalyst systems. The scientists also study organometallic synthesis and mechanisms as well as organic and polymer synthesis. Their research has led to the development of products including advanced plastics and new pharmaceuticals. These new catalysts have also been used for the conversion of biorenewable carbon sources into fuels and commodity chemicals.

“Ring opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) has opened doors to new methods for the synthesis of highly functionalized polymers with controlled structures,” said Professor Grubbs. “The opportunities have been greatly expanded due to tuning the structure of the ruthenium based metathesis catalysts. The recent development of additional methods have enabled us to prepare cyclic olefins, alternating copolymers, and multiblock copolymers with a broad array of functionality,” added Professor Grubbs.

“Polymers bring critical performance to modern industrial and consumer applications including coatings,” said Dr. Barry Snyder, Axalta Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Professor Grubbs’ research has had profound impact on the chemical and materials industries, and we are proud to have the opportunity to host him. The Philadelphia area offers unique opportunities for industry-academic partnerships which foster innovation. This lecture series is one of several collaborations between Axalta and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, and brings world-class scientists and students together to share their research findings and perspectives. Axalta is committed to innovation and to advancing the technology required to deliver coatings that are built for performance,” added Dr. Snyder.

"Collaborations with Axalta offer great opportunities for our students and faculty members to interact with industrial researchers and learn from some of the most eminent scholars in the world,” said Gary A. Molander, Department Chair and Hirschmann-Makineni Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. “This year, we are delighted to have Professor Grubbs share his research and vision with us. We look forward to continued collaborations with Axalta in the years ahead."

About Axalta Coating Systems

Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, our coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the materials we coat to last longer. With nearly 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, the more than 12,800 people of Axalta continue to find ways to serve our more than 120,000 customers in 130 countries better every day with the finest coatings, application systems and technology. For more information visit axaltacoatingsystems.com and follow us @axalta on Twitter and on LinkedIn.