Portland State University: Working with industry to test a non-destructive coating integrity monitor

Portland State University’s Innovation & Intellectual Property Team have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and a materials transfer agreement (MTA) with a world-leading speciality chemicals and performance coatings company. These agreements will allow the R&D team at the company to evaluate a new portable, non-destructive technology to monitor surface and coating integrity developed by researchers at Portland State University (PSU).

The Innovation & Intellectual Property Team at PSU published the technology on IN-PART and earlier this year were matched to a number of potential industry partners. One of these matches resulted in a conversation with the head of R&D at a chemicals and coatings company, who they have now entered a collaboration with.

Travis Woodland, the Director of Portland State University’s Innovation & Intellectual Property provided an update on the latest developments: ‘After being introduced to this company [who requested to remain anonymous] through IN-PART, initial conversations indicated that this was a technology they were very much interested in investigating further. They signed an NDA and MTA, which followed further conversations about what the company wished to gain from the testing of the materials. This allowed the researcher to prepare multiple samples that specifically fit the company’s needs, along with detailed videos demonstrating how they should be used.

The company’s R&D team is now conducting investigations with the materials provided by the PSU researchers and hope to gain more insights as to how this new method is beneficial over their existing technologies. Travis explained that his team are hopeful that this will lead to further collaboration around about technology and ultimately a formal partnership between the two.

The technology under focus in this collaboration was developed by researchers at PSU as means to assess the integrity of protective coatings and surfaces. It uses specially designed electrostatic gel pads that allow measurements of the impedance of a surface to be taken as an indicator of its integrity.

Until now, these measurements have needed specialised equipment that could only be used in a laboratory, which naturally poses many limitations that the coatings industry are looking to overcome. Being able to conduct integrity measurement in the field, therefore, has huge time and cost benefits.

A full summary of this technology can be found on IN-PART: ‘Portable, Non-destructive, Surface/Coating Integrity Verification’.

Read other case studies of collaborations initiated through IN-PART:

Browse Portland State University’s innovation portfolio on IN-PART.


IN-PART is an online matchmaking platform that simplifies the initial connection between academia and industry to breakthroughs out of the lab and onto the market.

Launched in 2014, we now work with 230 universities and research institutes worldwide, proactively matching academic research to the most relevant R&D professionals from a network of 5,500+ innovation-driven companies.

Request a demo of our service for universities, or if you’re in a company register for free access.

Written by Leah Nolan from IN-PART’s universities team

Edited by Alex Stockham, IN-PART’s Communications Manager

Copyrights reserved unless otherwise agreed – IN-PART Publishing Ltd., 2020– ‘Portland State University: Working with industry to test a non-destructive coating integrity monitor’

Header image background: Pawel Czerwinski / Unsplash (CC0)

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