Kevlar inventor Stephanie L. Kwolek is among the nine new inductees named to the Plastics Hall of Fame, and is the first woman so honored, the Plastics Academy announced Jan. 2.
Inductees will be honored during a ceremony and banquet at the Chicago Hilton on June 19 during NPE 1997.
One of the nine, Bruce H. Maddock, died recently.
The Plastics Hall of Fame is housed at the National Plastics Center and Museum in Leominster, Mass. New inductees range from the man who led Union Carbide Corp.'s development of the Unipol process to make polyethylene, to a noted educator, to an inventor of direct extrusion of nonwoven plastic netting.
Jerome Heckman, president of the Plastics Academy, announced the nine new members:
Glenn L. Beall, an engineer, consultant, educator and editor widely recognized for his contributions to the field of plastics design. Beall, whose career has spanned 40 years, is president of Glenn Beall Plastics Ltd. in Libertyville, Ill.
Robert D. Forger, who held a variety of positions at the Society of Plastics Engineers, the professional association in Brookfield, Conn. During his tenure as executive director, from 1971 to when he retired in early 1993, SPE membership more than doubled, to 37,000, and the association became a global force. Forger lives in Wilton, Conn.
Robert A. Hoffer Sr., founder and chairman of Hoffer Plastics Corp., a custom injection molder in South Elgin, Ill. Hoffer is an active supporter of plastics education. As the first chairman of the Elgin Community College board, he convened an industry group to create one of the country's first two-year programs in plastics technology. He also has contributed more than $400,000 to the Purdue University School of Technology's plastics program, and raised money for the Leominster plastics museum.
Frederick J. Karol, senior corporate fellow in Union Carbide Corp.'s Polyolefins Division and an expert on resin polymerization. Karol is best known for playing a central role in developing and commercializing the low-pressure, fluid-bed Unipol process. Today, 46 licensees in 26 countries use Unipol technology to make polyethylene.
Kwolek, who had a 40-year career as a research chemist at DuPont Co. Beginning in 1964, she developed the first liquid crystalline solutions of synthetic extended-chain aromatic polyamides into fibers, which were the foundation of Kevlar aramid fibers. Kevlar is widely used in bulletproof vests, advanced composites and aerospace components. Kwolek holds 17 U.S. patents. She retired from DuPont in 1986 and lives in Wilmington, Del. In 1995, she was named to the Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.
Maddock, who in the early years of plastics helped adapt rubber extrusion to thermoplastics, died Nov. 9 in Lakewood, N.J., shortly after being picked for induction into the Plastics Hall of Fame. His work included research into single-screw extrusion.
Frank S. Marra, president of Marra International Associates in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., worked for D-M-E Co., the Michigan manufacturer of mold bases and components, from 1949 until 1983. He was president in 1965 and served as chief executive officer until 1983. Marra was instrumental in creating the Plastics Engineering Center at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. He helped found the Plastics Academy.
James McGrath, who first worked for nearly two decades as a research scientist in industry, learning resins and processing, then started another 20-year second career as a professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va. He currently is director of the National Science Foundation Science & Technology Center at VPI.
George S. Nalle Jr., founder of Nalle Plastics Inc., a netting extruder in Austin, Texas. Nalle developed direct extrusion of nonwoven plastic netting in the 1960s. Today the technique is used to make products as diverse as onion bags to netting for reverse osmosis membranes in dialysis machines. At the close of World War II, Nalle represented the U.S. Air Force on a team sent to study Germany's use of plastics. He sold Nalle Plastics to U.S. Netting in 1987, then founded Nalle Enterprises to develop new products, such as netting made from conductive polymers. He holds 26 U.S. patents.