At North Dakota State University, Webster carries out research on the synthesis and characterization of novel polymers. His specific areas of focus include the synthesis of new high performance polymers and thermosets, polymerization reactions, quantitative structure-property relationships, and the use of natural products in coatings systems. He has contributed over 48 papers and publications and is credited with 11 patents on coatings related topics. Webster is a past chair of the Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division of the American Chemical Society, is on the Professional Development Committee of the ACA, and was an editor for and now sits on the editorial board of the journal Progress in Organic Coatings.
Webster received both his B.S. degree in Chemistry and his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering Science from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the latter of which he earned in 1984. He began his career in the coatings industry working for the R&D Department of the Consumer Division of Sherwin-Williams in Chicago, IL. At Sherwin-Williams, Webster was involved in resin development for industrial coatings as well as long-range research in new resins and crosslinking chemistry. In 1993 he moved to Eastman Chemical Company where he led project teams in the areas of application development for new monomers, new chemistry for coatings systems, and polymer development for coatings. In 2001 he joined the faculty of the Coatings and Polymeric Materials Department at North Dakota State University.
One of Webster’s main research interests has been applying combinatorial and high throughput methods to the field of materials science in order to explore and screen a wide variety of polymer compositions in a short time period for polymer synthesis, formulation, and coatings properties. He is also interested in non-toxic fouling release coatings for naval vessels. These coatings are made by synthesizing crosslinked siloxane-polyurethane coatings that self-stratify into a soft and low surface energy siloxane outerlayer with a tough, durable polyurethane sublayer, which utilizes combinatorial and high throughput methods.
Webster won the first place Roon Foundation Award for the best paper at the 2003, 2004 and 2006 ACA-sponsored International Coatings Exposition (ICE). He was also the invited keynote Technical Focus Speaker at the 2004 ICE.