The first shipment of the paint -- 100 gallons of off-white paint -- was unveiled to the public Tuesday at USM. In all, at least 20,000 gallons will be used to paint one-fifth of the interior walls in the Pentagon, as well as repaint the wing damaged in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
"It will be 12-14 months before we start painting the rebuilt wing," said Bob Billak, who is in charge of maintenance at the Pentagon. "Before then, we will use the paint on the corridors and offices in the (rest) of the building."
Billak said the paint has been tested extensively and has shown to be more durable than conventional paint. More tests await the paint in Washington.
"They will take this paint and use it on a mock-up of Pentagon offices," said Dr. Shelby Thames, distinguished professor of polymer science at the Southern Miss School of Polymers and High Performance Materials. "By this summer, they will be ready to start ordering it in big volumes."
The paint, developed by a Southern Miss research team led by Thames, was unveiled during an Earth Day celebration last April.
"We had wanted to call the paint 'Pentagon Five-Star,' but when we checked with the trademark office, Pentagon was already taken," said Thames, explaining the origin of the American Pride name. "So we sat around and brainstormed. We wanted something associated with patriotism. We checked and American Pride was not taken.
"But it is now. It's ours."
In developing the paint, Southern Miss researchers, under Thames' direction, developed a
monomer, a chemical building block,
from an agricultural product -- in this case, castor oil -- which is built into the chemical base
Contact: Bud Kirkpatarick
University of Southern Mississippi