The Society of Plastics Engineers has announced the winner of its top honor, the International Award: William J. MacKnight, one of the founders of the polymer program at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
The International Award is the most prestigious annual award given in the plastics industry. Brookfield, Conn.-based SPE will honor MacKnight, and other award winners May 6 as it kicks off the society's Antec conference in Cincinnati.
MacKnight has been a leader in polymer education and research for more than three decades. He is the William D. Barrett Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the university's polymer science and engineering department. He joined the chemistry faculty in 1965.
In 1966, MacKnight and Richard Stein founded the University of Massachusetts' polymer program, which would become one of the best-known in the world. MacKnight headed the polymer program for 16 years. Stein won SPE's International Award in 1969.
MacKnight's academic accomplishments include the training of 48 doctorate students in polymer science and engineering. He has written more than 330 technical papers and co-authored two books.
The American Chemical Society gave MacKnight its Paul J. Flory Education Award for 2006.
His wide-ranging research has included the property structure relationships in microphase-separated polymers and ionomers, polymer blends and polyurethanes. His most recent activities have involved the preparation and polymerization of cyclic carbonate and ester oligomers, by researching crystallizable block copolymers.
SPE named other winners, who will be honored at Antec:
* Gary E. Wnek, who chairs the department of macromolecular science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, has won the John W. Hyatt Award for benefit to society. SPE is recognizing his contributions to polymers used in medicine, especially his research into electrostatic spinning as a way to fabricate polymer scaffolds for tissue engineering, drug delivery and other applications. The scaffolds can be used to grow new bone and cartilage.
Before he came to CWRU in 2004, Wnek served on the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was founding chair of the chemical engineering department. He also was director of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's polymer science and engineering program, and chair of its chemistry department.
* Brothers Eugen and Karl Hehl will pick up the Business Management Award for their management of injection molding machine maker Arburg GmbH + Co. KG in Lossburg, Germany. Their father, Arthur Hehl, founded Arburg in 1923 to make surgical instruments. After World War II, the company began making camera flash devices, but corrosion was causing problems with metal plug connectors. Karl Hehl got the idea of encapsulating the plugs in plastic, and Arburg built its own small presses.
In 1957, Arburg shifted completely into manufacturing injection molding machines. Today, Arburg employs more than 1,700 and generates sales of about $450 million a year. The company has passed into the third generation of the Hehl family.
* Frank Kelley has won the Education Award for his leadership role in establishing the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron in Ohio. As dean, he was instrumental in construction of the university's polymer center.
An Akron native, Kelley worked as a rocket scientist in the U.S. Air Force rocket propulsion laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Kelley moved to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where he headed the Air Force materials laboratory.
He became director of the university's Institute of Polymer Science in 1978, and later was named dean of the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.
* Kun Sup Hyun, a research professor of chemical engineering and president of the Polymer Processing Institute at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, won the Engineering/Technology Award. He joined the institute in Newark, N.J., in 2001, when he retired from Dow Chemical Co. after a 35-year career. At Dow, he was instrumental in developing and leading the polymer processing research and development group.
His major developments have been in the areas of melt rheology and extrusion of polystyrene, PVC, various low density polyethylenes and polypropylene.
* Pierre Carreau, director of the Center for Research in Polymer Engineering and Composites at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, has won the Research Award. His work is based in both theoretical and experimental areas related to engineering rheology. His Carreau Viscosity Model is part of most flow-simulation processing software packages.
He is recognized for research on mixing polymers with helical ribbon agitators, constitutive equations, heat transfer, mixing, mechanics of complex fluids and composite materials.
Antec 2007 will be held May 6-10 in Cincinnati. The annual SPE conference will be collocated with Plastics News' Plastics Encounter trade show, which runs May 8-10.