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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
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Tech hosts national conference

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 36 - July 25, 1996

The Polymer Materials and Interfaces Laboratory and National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for High Performance Polymeric Adhesives and Composites, in conjunction with the Division of Polymer Chemistry of the American Chemical Society, hosted the second Graduate Research Polymer Conference on campus in June.

This conference series represents a major educational initiative focused on graduate education, said Judy Riffle, professor in chemistry. "Its intent is to provide a forum for graduate students in polymer science and engineering to present their research at national meetings, and to meet and discuss research with their peers."

The meetings are supported by major U.S. industries, both with attendance and financial backing, so that students' registration and lodging fees are kept to a minimum. The first meeting was at Pennsylvania State University in 1994. This second conference was organized by Jim McGrath, director of the NSF center at Tech, and Riffle. The American Chemical Society intends to sponsor a meeting in this series every other summer at universities with major polymer programs.

The Virginia Tech meeting was attended by 285 people, with more than 200 papers presented by graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from 28 universities in 13 states. Six industrial plenary lecturers made presentations on topics such as "Polymer Blends and Reactive Extrusion," "Poly(ethylene naphthalate): How to bring New Commodity Materials to the Marketplace," "Polymers for Electronics," "Biodegradable Polymeric Materials," "Polymer Matrix Composites," and "Thermal Inkjet Printing."

All other presentations were made by the students. A number of the sessions were chaired by government agency individuals involved either in conducting and/or sponsoring research at universities and at industrial firms.

Technical highlights of the meeting included discussions of living free-radical polymerizations, polymeric adhesives and composites for applications ranging from electronic components and high speed-aircraft to automotive and construction, solid polyelectrolytes for batteries, new biomaterials for dental and drug-delivery areas, new materials for improved display technology, flame-retardant polymers, environmentally benign processes for Teflon-like materials, and molecular characterization of interactions in polymer blends.

The meeting was held at the Donaldson-Brown Center.