Lawrence Broutman, an expert in composites who developed methods to characterize the fracture toughness of fiber-reinforced plastics, won the Society of Plastics Engineers' top honor, the International Award, during SPE-Antec 2006 in Charlotte.
Broutman founded L.J. Broutman & Associates, a materials consulting and testing firm. The Melrose, Ill.-based operation is now Bodycote Broutman Inc., part of the United Kingdom-based Bodycote International plc of Macclesfield, England.
He began his research career in plastics while an undergraduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Broutman did pioneering research on the characterization of the interface strength between a single fiber and the polymer matrix. Expanding his work to include glass fibers as well as boron and graphite, he developed new test methods, including one of the first falling-weight impact instruments.
He did pioneering work in the use of a scanning electron microscope to examine the structure and failure of glass-fiber reinforcements.
Broutman also served as SPE president in the 1977-78 term.
SPE honored the award winners May 10 in Charlotte. Other winners are:
* Donald Paulson, who founded Paulson Training Programs Inc. in 1981 to provide training in process control for molding technicians, won the Engineering/Technology Award. He is credited with bringing a logical, science-based system to plastics.
Paulson was hired by General Motors Institute in 1963 to develop a plastics training program and processing laboratory for GMI engineering students. He put it together within six months.
At the time, plastics processing was considered an art and experienced processors provided training. Paulson wanted to explain the molding process based on the physical laws and mathematics with which students already were familiar, so he began to gather data by installing pressure transducers and thermocouples inside the machine.
Paulson next became research manager for injection press maker New Britain Machine Co. in New Britain, Conn. He developed a company called Control Process Inc. and supplied New Britain with the first closed-loop molding machine control systems to use cavity-pressure transducers.
His Paulson Training Programs, in Chester, Conn., has evolved from videotapes to Internet offerings. His latest development is injection molding simulation software.
* Timothy Weston, who heads Pennsylvania College of Technology's Plastics and Polymer Engineering Technology program in Williamsport, Pa., picked up the Education Award.
Weston is an assistant professor and head of the plastics department at Penn College. He founded the associate degree program in plastics and polymer technology in 1986. In 1992, he led the effort to add a bachelor's degree program at Penn College.
He formed the school's Plastics Manufacturing Center, partnering with industry and government. The center has provided technical support to hundreds of plastics companies.
He also helped with the Plastics Resources for Educators Program, which received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create and distribute teaching tools.
Weston began work on the Penn College Mobile Lab Project in 2004. The lab goes to high schools, bearing bench-top molding equipment.
* Anthony Bur, recently retired from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, won the Research Award for his groundbreaking work in process monitoring.
Bur served as physicist and project leader for polymer process measurements development at NIST in Gaithersburg, Md. Over the span of about 20 years, Bur developed methods and devices to obtain in situ measurements of residence time distributions, crystallization, cross-linking, molecular orientation and temperature in polymer processing.
He has done major research on the relationships among processing, rheology, structure development and properties of polymers. Bur has published more than 80 technical papers. He holds seven U.S. patents.
* Larry Nunnery, chairman and chief executive officer of Bulk Molding Compounds Inc. of West Chicago, Ill., won the Business Management Award.
After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a chemical engineering degree, Nunnery started his career at GE Plastics as a salesman. After 12 years at GE, he became vice president of sales and marketing at Alpha Chemical and Plastics, a PVC medical compounder in Pineville, N.C. Then he joined Oneida Molded Plastics Corp. of Oneida, N.Y., as an equity partner and vice president of business development.
In 1989, Nunnery bought a small compounding business that would become BMC Inc. Since he bought the company, it has expanded with facilities around the world. BMC now produces 150 million pounds of bulk molding compounds a year.