Robert Weiss, a distinguished professor of engineering at the University of Connecticut and an expert in ionomers, liquid-crystal polymers and polymer blends, has won the International Award, the top honor of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
The society will honor Weiss, along with five other award winners May 4 during the Antec conference in Milwaukee.
Weiss has earned an international reputation in polymer science and engineering, in a 30-plus year career in plastics materials research. His research on the structure-property relationships of ionomers has revealed the characteristics of those complex materials, and stimulated research by many other laboratories. He has demonstrated applications for ionomers in everything from thermoplastic elastomers to coatings to electrically conducting materials. His work also has led to a major look at new concepts in proton-exchange membranes used in fuel cells.
Weiss has published more than 180 journal articles and 230 conference proceedings and preprints. He holds 18 U.S. patents.
He is editor-in-chief of two SPE journals: Polymer Engineering and Science and Polymer Composites.
Weiss has won several SPE awards in the past: the Education Award in 2000, the Research Award in 2002 and the Engineering/Technology Award in 2003.
Brookfield-based SPE named these other winners:
* Steven Kurtz, corporate vice president of Exponent Inc., a scientific and engineering consulting firm, won the John W. Hyatt Award for benefit to society. Kurtz, who directs Exponent's office in Philadelphia, specializes in injury analysis and failure analysis applied to medical devices, including orthopedic and spinal implants. He was instrumental in founding the Implant Research Center at Drexel University.
* Werner Wittmann, president and founder of machinery manufacturer Wittmann Kunststoffgerate GmbH in Vienna, Austria, won the Business Management Award. Wittmann founded the company in 1986 as a maker of water-flow regulators. The firm added mold-temperature controllers, then got into robots. Wittmann later added granulators, dryers, blenders, conveying systems and other types of auxiliary equipment. Most recently, Wittmann purchased the injection molding press business of Battenfeld Kunststoffmaschinen GmbH.
* Paul Koch, an associate professor of engineering at Penn State Erie University's Behrend College in Erie, Pa., won SPE's Education Award. Koch founded the plastics engineering technology department. More than 200 undergraduate students are enrolled in the program, which has a 100 percent job placement for graduates. Koch holds five U.S. patents.
* L. James Lee, the Helen C. Kurtz Professor of Chemical Engineering at Ohio State University in Columbus, picked up the Fred O. Conley Award for Plastics Engineering/Technology. Internationally known in the field of polymer and composite engineering, Lee's research in reactive processing, low-profile additives, sheet molding compounds and liquid composite molding is considered the most comprehensive in the United States for automotive and infrastructure applications. His research also has demonstrated that affordable, microscale and nanoscale polymer devices can be mass-produced for various industrial and biomedical products.
* Dilhan Kalyon, professor and founder of the Highly Filled Materials Institute at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., won the Research Award. His main accomplishment has been to generate basic science and the technology base for the continuous processing of highly filled suspensions of plastics, which are used in many industries such as polymer composites, biomedical, pharmaceuticals, batteries, energy, electronics, shielding and personal-care products. He has been published more than 240 times and holds several patents.