Society of Plastic Engineers to honor Farris

Richard J. Farris, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Polymer Science and Engineering, has been chosen to receive the 2006 Polymer Analysis Division Founder’s Award from the Society of Plastic Engineers.

The award recognizes Farris for his “unique, innovative and rigorous applications of the fundamentals of thermodynamics and mechanics to the development, analysis and modeling of test methods used in polymer characterization that have had broad impact on industrial practice and academic research.”

Sponsored by Anton Paar USA, the award will be presented to Farris in May at the society’s Annual Technical Conference in Charlotte, N.C.

During his career, Farris has shown unique approaches to the study of the physical, thermal and electronic behavior of polymeric materials that have led to a basic and practical understanding of their properties and performance. His notable contributions towards polymer analysis include the use of vibrational holography to assess the stress state of thin polymeric films, methods to measure the elastic coefficients of anisotropic coatings, development of mathematical formulations for the cure stresses in thermoset polymers, new approaches to fire safe polymers, dilatometric methods to measure the dewetting of elastomeric fillers, and methods of recycling cross-linked rubbers.

Farris joined the faculty in 1974 as associate professor of Civil Engineering and adjunct professor of Polymer Science and Engineering. He moved to Polymer Science in 1976 and served as graduate program director until 1982. He was co-director of the Center for the University of Massachusetts-Industry Research on Polymers (CUMIRP) from 1983-95 and director of the Laboratory of Polymer Engineering from 1983 to 2002. In 1984, he was promoted to professor in 1984 and appointed as an adjunct professor of Chemical Engineering. Farris was appointed a Distinguished University professor in 1991. He was head of the Polymer Science Department from 1995 to 2000. He retired in 2002.

He has authored more than 300 research publications, including 17 patents, and has received the Roon Award from the Federation of Societies for Coating Technology, the Malcolm E. Pruitt Award from the Council for Chemical Research and the George Stafford Whitby Award from the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society.