Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials
The Polymers and Coatings Department (now the Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials) emerged from the chemistry department in 1905 to help regulate paints in North Dakota. Professor E. F. Ladd was one of the primary supporters of this development and helped get a law passed in 1905 that prevented adulteration and deception in paints. To help enforce this law, paints needed to be tested to determine whether they were labeled correctly. In order to do this, an experiment station was set up which included a test fence and paint bulletins were published with the test results. Ladd could not do this all himself so a staff was hired and the college began training students in this field. Many manufacturers objected to the Paint Law and several sued North Dakota Agricultural College for the findings that cost them business. The college won all of these suits, however, because Ladd and his team were very careful in their testing.

As technology has advanced, the polymers and coatings department has advanced with it. Courses were expanded from paint analysis to paint work in 1919 under the industrial chemistry department in the School of Chemistry and Pharmacy and then to include paint varnishes and pigments in the 1922 in the Physical and Industrial Chemistry Department in the School of Chemistry and Technology and has since moved to become more theoretical. This department (which became its own major of Protective Coatings in 1960 and Polymers and Coatings in the College of Science and Mathematics in 1974) has developed a renowned reputation throughout the world for its research and education. Faculty are invited to speak in many places every year and students from North Dakota State University are sought after by companies in the field due to the excellence of their program training. Currently a masters and PhD program are offered, which attract students from all over the world.
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