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Dr. Tinh Nguyen

Dr. Tinh Nguyen is a physical scientist in the Polymeric Materials Group of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). At NIST, Dr. Nguyen is a Senior Project Leader of "Nanoparticle Release During Life Cycle of Nanostructured Materials" Dr. Nguyen’s main research interests include adhesion of polymeric systems, interactions between polymers and substrates including nanoparticles, mechanisms and models by which polymers, polymer composites, and polymer/substrate interfaces degrade under environmental stresses. In recent years, Dr. Nguyen has been involved in nanotechnologies and nanometrologies, particularly measurement of chemical properties of surfaces at the nanoscale spatial resolution, photodegradation of polymer nanocomposites, and mechanism of nanoparticle release from nanocomposites. He has published over 220 technical papers in these areas.

Dr. Nguyen is credited in the development of:

  1. Both the conceptual and mathematical models for the corrosion and delamination of polymer-coated steel in alkaline electrolytes.
  2. A method to detect and quantify in situ molecular water layer and metal ions at the polymer/substrate interface using evanescent wave spectroscopy and bi-layer internal reflection model.
  3. A conceptual heterogeneous model for understanding the hydrolysis and photodegradation of polymers and coatings.
  4. Developing a method based on phase imaging AFM and water vapor to characterize chemical heterogeneity of surfaces at a nanoscale spatial resolution.
  5. A novel method to effectively functionalize carbon nanotubes and grahene oxides that carry free NCO groups for forming covalent bonds with polyurethanes.

Also, Dr. Nguyen is the first researcher to explore reflection/absorption Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to study the degradation at the coating/steel interface, electron thermal wave microscopy and imaging to quantify early corrosion on steel under a polymer film, cyclic dynamic electrochemical and potential imaging methods for rapidly evaluating the protective performance of polymer coatings on metals, and a microelectrode technique for measuring in situ chloride and corrosion potential at the coating/metal interface.

Prior to joining the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Dr. Nguyen was a Research Chemist at the Atlantic Richfield Chemical Company (ARCO) Research Center, Newtown Square, PA. His main work at ARCO was in the research and development of adhesives, adhesion promoters, release agents, and polyurethane coatings and sealants. In addition, his work involved the adhesion and abhesion between metals and adhesives, stability and degradation of adhesive joints and sealants, and the emulsification of polyurethanes. Dr. Nguyen holds nine patents in these areas.

During graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Nguyen was employed as a research assistant. His research there involved surface chemistry and oxidation of synthetic and natural polymers, adhesion, thermal analyses, and development of methodologies for bonding natural and synthetic polymers by chemical oxidation processes.

Awards and Honors:

  • Fellow of the Adhesion Society
  • Founder and Director, NIST/Industry Polymer Interphase Consortium, 2001-2007
  • Marquis, Who's Who in Science and Engineering
  • Who's Who in the World
  • Associate Editor of the Journal of Materials for Civil Engineering, 1998-2004
  • Scholar, Southeast Asian Minister of Education Organization (SEAMEO), 1970-1973
  • Building and Fire Research Communicator Award, 1991
  • Department of Commerce Sustained Superior Performance and Outstanding Performance and Cash Awards, from 1984 to 1991
  • Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award, 1994
  • Federation of Societies of Coatings Technology Corrosion Committee Publication Award, 1996
  • Best Paper Award of the 1996 European Coating Congress
  • Roon Foundation Awards of the Federation of Societies of Coatings Technology, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007 Best Paper Award of the Coatings for Plastics Conference, 2004
  • Best Poster Award (coauthor) sponsored by Michelin Company and given by The Adhesion Society Meeting, February, 2004
  • John Gordon Best Paper Award (coauthor) given by Federation of Society of Coatings Technology, November, 2006
  • Best Poster Award (coauthor) sponsored by Michelin Company and given by the Adhesion Society, February, 2007
  • Best Paper Award of the Asia Pacific Coatings Show and Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, May, 2007
  • Who’s Who in Vietnamese Overseas, Volume 3, 1998
  • Member of the Steering Committee of the International Conference on Durability of Building Materials, 1993 to 2004.
Dr. Tinh Nguyen


Physical Scientist
Materials and Structural Systems Division
Polymeric Materials Group


University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., Materials Science (Surface Chemistry and Polymers Science), 1979

University of the Philippines, M.S., Applied Chemistry, 1974

University of Saigon, B.A., Engineering, 1970


Phone: 301-975-6718
Email: tinh.nguyen@nist.gov