Montgomery T. Shaw, an expert in polymer rheology and blends, won the Society of Plastics Engineers' top honor, the International Award, during the Annual Technical Conference in San Francisco.
The University of Connecticut professor received the award May 7, then the following day gave the keynote address at Antec.
Shaw quipped that his speech - about the influence of electrical and magnetic fields - had nothing to do with polymer blends, the reason he won the International Award. He described laboratory work that uses an electrical field to drive water droplets into a polyethylene membrane, forming a layered structure.
Magnetic fields also can change polymers if the viscosity of the material is low enough, he said.
Shaw, an SPE fellow, won the society's award for research in 1998. In addition to rheology and blends, he has worked in microcellular foams, electrorheological materials and dielectrics. He is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the thermodynamics of polymer mixtures. He co-authored the book Polymer-Polymer Miscibility. Before joining UConn in 1977, he served on the research staff of Union Carbide Corp. from 1970-76.
For winning the award, Shaw got $5,000 and a gold medal.
SPE also gave other awards:
* Donald G. Baird, co-director of the Center for Composite Materials and Structures at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, received the Education Award. An authority on polymer rheology and processing, Baird has taught a variety of courses in more that two decades at VPI in Blacksburg, Va. He has graduated 35 students with master's degrees or doctorates, and 12 post-doctoral research associates. Baird, who holds four U.S. patents, has presented more than 100 lectures and written more than 100 journal articles. With Dimitras Collias, Baird wrote the textbook Polymer Processing: Principles and Design.
* William J. Wallach, whose company, ILC Dover Inc., makes spacesuits in Frederica, Del., picked up the John W. Hyatt Award for benefit to society. ILC made the spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong when he became the first human to set foot on the moon in 1969. ``This award is a recognition of the fine work that the scientists and engineers do at our company,'' Wallach said. ILC still makes spacesuits, which use 10 different types of polymers.
The company also was involved with the Rover Sojourner robot that landed on Mars, he said.
* Robert A. Weiss, the A.T. DiBenedetto Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Connecticut, won the Research Award. His research has centered on ionomers, liquid-crystal polymers and polymer blends. SPE said his work has been innovative and has had great practical value. For example, he developed a process for the synthesis of sulfonated ionomers by an emulsion polymerization process. Those materials then were used as a component of drilling fluids. Weiss also was among the first people to realize that LCPs could be used in situ to reinforce other themoplastics. Weiss holds 15 patents and has written more than 300 papers and book chapters. He won SPE's Education Award in 2000.
* Fred P. Keller, chairman and chief executive officer at Cascade Engineering Inc., a custom injection molder in Grand Rapids, Mich., received the Business Management Award. Keller, who founded Cascade, believes an organization simultaneously can pursue an agenda of doing right by its employees, supporting its community and enjoying long-term sustainability. The company, which generates more than $200 million in sales, is nationally known for its results in moving people off welfare. Cascade also won Plastics News' 2001 Processor of the Year award. ``It's a have-your-cake-and-eat-it world,'' Keller said, referring to Cascade's success at both social and economic efforts.
* Costas G. Gogos took the Fred O. Conley Award for Plastics Engineering/Technology. Gogos is chairman of the technical board and president emeritus of the Polymer Processing Institute at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and professor emeritus of chemical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. Gogos co-founded PPI, which forms research partnerships with industrial members, helping small companies in New Jersey solve engineering problems. With Zehev Tadmor, Gogos wrote the book Principles of Polymer Processing in 1979.
SPE also named two best-product award winners. Winning for best consumer product was Segway LLC's Human Transporter. The personal, two-wheeled vehicle created by inventor Dean Kamen uses more than 14 pounds of plastic parts. The self-balancing HT carries a rider over many kinds of terrain at two to three times normal walking speed. The company is based in Manchester, N.H.
The industrial product award went to Centro Inc., a rotational molder in North Liberty, Iowa, for a structural roof for a John Deere tractor, with several air-duct chambers molded inside. The part, with 63 molded-in inserts, also netted Centro top honors in January at the Association of Rotational Molders annual meeting in Minneapolis.