Hadi Mohammadi, 34
Senior Research Scientist, Braskem
Working at Pittsburgh-based materials firm Braskem is Hadi Mohammadi's first job in the plastics industry. Mohammadi graduated from Iran's Amirkabir University of Technology with a Master of Science in polymer engineering and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Ph.D. in polymer chemistry.
Following his master's, he worked with a group on a project related to crystallization of polypropylene. "That project got me really interested in plastics and motivated me to pursue my Ph.D. on crystallization of plastics and start a career in this field," he said.
Mohammadi has worked as a research specialist I and II. During his second year with Braskem, he was selected as one of the top-performing team members within the company's innovation and technology centers.
He has made significant contributions to Braskem's additive manufacturing portfolio through the application of fundamental polymer science principles. He is also currently scaling up a "new to the world" ethylene-based terpolymer that has the potential to reshape the elastomer industry. Patents have been filed to cover the composition of matter, various applications and manufacturing of this new polymer.
"An extension of this technology has the potential to render polyethylene to be more easily 'degraded' back to monomer without compromising performance," he said.
Mohammadi said he is greatly interested in "efforts and investments in chemical and solvent-based recycling of plastics."
"I believe that these technologies have the potential to resolve issues related to plastic waste and enable us to close the loop on recycling and reuse of plastics," he said.
Mohammadi is involved with the American Chemical Society and American Physical Society. He has previously attended ACS Advances in Polyolefins, APS March Meetings and AMI conferences.
"As a relatively new hire in the company, I actively seek guidance from more experienced colleagues on how to be successful in the industry," he said. "I look for opportunities to excel my knowledge in different fields and try to keep myself up to date with recent technological advances."
In his spare time, Mohammadi likes to take long walks, bake and play with his son.
Raj Krishnaswamy, Braskem director of material science innovation, nominated Mohammadi for Rising Stars.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Mohammadi: The size and complexity of the plastics industry is quite astonishing to me. I can always find someone working on a topic that is totally new to me and find an opportunity to learn more about plastics.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Mohammadi: In research, often you can find what you are looking for in the work of your predecessors. Always be aware of and respect the work that has been done before you.
Q: One of our criteria for Rising Stars is whether they are active in the plastics industry, manufacturing or their community. How are you involved?
Mohammadi: Currently I am collaborating with several external partners and technical/business teams within Braskem to generate new families of high-performance polyolefins that will enable circularity of plastics. I also participate in programs organized by Braskem that target cleaning our environment and giving back to the community from a STEM education point of view.
Q: What should the plastics industry do to expand its efforts in diversity and inclusion?
Mohammadi: Plastics industry has made good progress in developing a diverse and inclusive environment. I think the next step is to increase their efforts in fostering a culture where every voice, even those outside of the industry, are encouraged, heard, and respected.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Mohammadi: I always looked up to my father as a great mentor. His passion to learn and excel always surprises and inspires me.