Polymer Science Researchers, Industry Leaders Hold Symposium at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - Scientists and industry leaders from across the country held a four-day symposium at the University of Massachusetts beginning May 20. Researchers in academia and industry discussed the latest advancements in polymer science and technology. The meeting was a collaborative effort between the Center for UMass Industry Research on Polymers (CUMIRP), and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), also at UMass.

The meeting included a two-part morphology workshop led by professor Samuel Gido. Morphology is the study of the structure of polymers. In the first portion of the workshop, chemical engineering professor Michael Tsapatsis lectured on "High Resolution TEM Imaging and Diffraction Analysis on Nano-Structured Materials," and Gido discussed "Special Problems, Techniques and Opportunities for the Analytical Electron Microscopy of Polymers." The second part of the workshop included a laboratory session for participants.

Another workshop examined supercritical fluids, and included presentations by several UMass professors: James Watkins, on "Polymers in Supercritical Fluids: Directions at the University of Massachusetts"; Thomas McCarthy, on "Preparation and Characterization of Microcellular Composite Foams Using Supercritical CO2"; Alan Lesser, on "Mechanical Characterization of Novel Polymeric Materials Processed in Supercritical CO2"; and Henning Winter, on "Crystallization of Polyolefins from Supercritical Alkane Solutions." Also making presentations were University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Joseph DeSimone, on "Opportunities for Polymers and Carbon Dioxide: from Block Copolymer Micelles in Compressible Media to CO2 Swollen Meltphase and Solid State Step-growth Polymerizations"; and University of Texas at Austin professor Keith Johnson on "Molecular Design of Dispersions in Supercritical Fluids." The workshop concluded with a discussion on the future of supercritical fluid research.

CUMIRP, a partnership between the University and industry, held its semi-annual review and symposium on May 22. Industrial sponsors and University researchers met to discuss the most recent results of a broad range of research topics. The exchange was followed by a lecture series that included presentations by Larry Charbonneau of Hoescht-Celanese, who spoke on Vectra, a thermotropic liquid crystalline polymer; John Woods of Loctite, on "Vapor Deposited Polycyanoacrylate Thin Films: Chemistry and Properties;" and UMass professor Jacques Penelle, on "Design of Synthetic Routes to Multifunctionalized Polyethylene Backbones."