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2020 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer
Research Award Winners


Winner to present Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at
the Westin Denver Downtown Denver, Colorado

The TRFA Annual Meeting is April 26-29, 2020 in Denver, Colorado

The Thermoset Resin Formulators Association (TRFA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 10th Annual Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Competition.

2020 Grand Prize Winner

Daylan Sheppard, Northwestern University
“Recycling Cross-Linked Polyurethane Foam using Twin Screw Extrusion”

Cross-linked polyurethane (PU) is extensively used as thermosetting foam, however methods to directly reprocess PU foam waste derived from commercial sources into similar value materials have not been developed. We demonstrate that introducing dibutyltin dilaurate (DBTDL) to cross-linked PU foams and films enables their reprocessing at elevated temperatures via carbamate exchange. Both synthesized and commercial PU foams were continuously reprocessed using twin screw extrusion to remove gaseous filler to produce PU filaments or films with elastomeric or rigid thermosetting mechanical properties. Throughout this process, cross-link density and tensile strengths are maintained quantitatively in synthesized PU foam recluding undesirable side reactions as well as changing material morphology. These findings will enable the bulk reprocessing of commercial thermosetting PU waste and inspire the further development of reprocessing methods for other thermosets and the compatibilization of chemically distinct cross-linked materials.

The grand prize award includes:

  • $1,500 cash award and an award plaque.
  • An invitation to present the winning paper at the TRFA Annual Meeting on April 28, 2020 in Denver, Colorado with complimentary registration for one person.
  • Two-night complimentary accommodation at the TRFA meeting hotel.
  • Additional travel allowance for one person up to $500.
  • Award winner will have their name and research title posted on the TRFA website and to be included in TRFA Meeting Materials, distributed to all attendees.
2020 Honorable Mentions

Mengfei Huang, University of Massachusetts Amherst
“Synthesis of High-Performance UV-Curable Crosslinked Coating Films via Grafting of HEMA Functionalized Methylene Malonate”

Novel methylene malonate (MM) monomers can be synthesized economically from petro-based or renewable feedstocks. Interestingly, they undergo reactive anionic polymerization in an aqueous ambient environment. This attribute provides a powerful and simple new approach to enhance the properties of emulsion polymers, waterborne coatings and related applications that would benefit from greener chemistries. In this work, we have demonstrated the direct emulsion polymerization of MM in aqueous solutions at various pH values and functional groups. Polymerization was also readily initiated from latex particle surfaces. This strategy was employed to introduce high functional group densities to the latex particles, providing attributes, such as ultraviolet (UV) crosslinking, free radical crosslinking, and mechanical properties to the latexes and coatings derived therefrom. Systematic studies were conducted on the UV curing of methacrylate functionalized latex films to determine their thermal properties, mechanical strength, crosslinking density, and chemical composition. Rapid UV curing and high crosslinking densities enabled the synthesis of high-performance coatings based on a very simple in-situ latex modification. This study provides a simple, new, in-situ and readily scalable chemistry and methodology to significantly enhance the performance of emulsion polymers, latex systems and coatings.

Cheng Zhang,The University of Akron
“Renewable thermoset polyurethanes dispersions from bio-based isocyanate”

A series of high bio-based carbon content polyurethane dispersions (PUD) were successfully synthesized from dimer fatty acid diisocyanate (DDI), castor oil (CO), alkoxysilane modified castor oil (MCO), and dimethylolpropionic acid (DMPA). This work focused on the improvement for the final performance of the renewable DDI-based PUD as well as the discussion of structure/property relationships. The chemical structure of MCO and Si-O-Si crosslink network structure on the dry-film of PUD were characterized by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and solid-state 29Si NMR. The effect of alkoxysilane and NCO/OH ratio on DDI-based PUD were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), tensile tests, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The glass transition temperature, Young’s modulus, and tensile strength increased with the incorporation of alkoxysilane and increasing NCO/OH ratio. In the meanwhile, the initial degradation temperature and elongation-at-break were reduced with increasing content of alkoxysilane. Finally, the alkoxysilane modified DDI-based PUD exhibited excellent corrosion resistance after the immersion in NaCl solution for 28 days. In general, the present research suggested that through appropriate modification, the DDI-based PUD with high bio-based carbon content could exhibit great mechanical properties and excellent anticorrosion properties.

The honorable mention includes:

  • A $500 cash award, and an award certificate that will be presented at the meeting
  • Complimentary registration for the TRFA Annual Meeting in Denever, CO
  • Travel Allowance for one person up to $500
  • Presentation of their paper during the technical sessions of the TRFA Annual Meeting
  • Paper posted on the TRFA website and also included on the flash drive of conference
    proceedings which will be presented to meeting attendees
Invited Poster Presenters

Farhad Ahmadijokani, The University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus) 
Phenolic-Based Thermoset Friction Composites Reinforced with Hybrid Carbon-Aramid Fiber: Mechanical, Thermal and Tribological study

Xi Chu, Drexel University

Tetra-functional Furan-based Epoxy-Amine Thermosetting Systems with Superior Characteristics

Metin Karayilan, University of Arizona     
Amine Functional Prepolymers from Elemental Sulfur for Thermosetting Plastics Applications

Michelle  Lehmann, University of Tennessee
Tailored Crosslinking of Poly(Ethylene Oxide) Enables Mechanical Robustness and Improved Sodium-Ion Conductivity

Tong  Li,  University of Victoria
     
Production and Dynamic Mechanical Analysis of Macro-ScaleFunctionalized Polydicyclopentadiene Objects Facilitated by Rational Synthesis and Reaction Injection Molding

Chinmay Saraf, University of Massachusetts Amherst    
Development of impact modified photocurable resin formulation for 3D printed thermosets

Minjie (Jack)  Shen,University of Houston   

Accelerated Hydrolytic Degradation of Ester-containing
Biobased Epoxy Resins

Liyang  Shen, Iowa State University
    
Polystyrene-block-Polydimethylsiloxane as a potential silica substitute for polysiloxane reinforcement

Haoran Wang, The University of Akron

Modified Cardanol as Bio-Based Reactive Diluents for Alkyd Thermoset Coating

Weichen Wang, Stanford University  
      
Skin electronics from scalable fabrication of an
intrinsically stretchable transistor array

Forough  Zareanshahraki, Eastern Michigan University College of Technology

Sustainable polymeric polyols for thermoset coatings: Leveraging structural features in optimizing performance

Invited poster presenters receive:

  • Complimentary registration for the TRFA Annual Meeting
  • A special TRFA Academic Award Panel 10th Anniversary gift
  • Opportunity to present their research as a poster during the TRFA Annual Meeting
    Tabletop Showcase


2019 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer
Research Award Winners

The Thermoset Resin Formulators Association (TRFA) winners of the 9th Annual Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Competition.

2019 Grand Prize Winner

Jian Gao, Drexel University
"Highly Ductile Epoxy Systems Obtained by Network
Topology Modification Using Partially Reacted Substructures"

The grand prize award includes:

  • A $1,500 cash award, and an award plaque that will be presented at the meeting
  • Complimentary registration for the TRFA Annual Meeting in Charleston, SC
  • Two-night complimentary accommodation at the Charleston Marriott
  • Travel Allowance for one person up to $500
  • Presentation of their paper during the technical sessions of the TRFA Annual Meeting
  • Paper posted on the TRFA website and also included on the flash drive of conference proceedings
    which will be presented to meeting attendees
2019 Honorable Mentions
Hamidreza Asemani, Eastern Michigan University
“Design and Evaluation of High Performance Hybrid
Thermoset Coatings using Multi-Functional Non-Isocyanate
Polyurethanes”
Brendan R. Ondra, University of Massachusetts Amherst
“Formulation Effects on the Physical Aging Behavior of
Epoxy-Based Glassy Thermosets”

The honorable mention includes:

  • A $500 cash award, and an award certificate that will be presented at the meeting
  • Complimentary registration for the TRFA Annual Meeting in Charleston, SC
  • Travel Allowance for one person up to $500
  • Presentation of their paper during the technical sessions of the TRFA Annual Meeting
  • Paper posted on the TRFA website and also included on the flash drive of conference
    proceedings which will be presented to meeting attendees
Invited Poster Presenters

Lynsey Baxter, Oklahoma State University
Hybrid Nano-Additives for Improving Mode I Interlaminar Fracture Toughness of Pre-Preg
And Epoxy Resin/Fiber Composites

Arit Das, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Frictional Sliding Properties of Unidirectional Carbon Fiber Epoxy Prepregs:
A Rheological Study on the Effect of Processing Parameters

Jizhou Fan, Louisiana State University
High Enthalpy Storage Thermoset Network with Giant Stress and Energy Output in Rubbery State

Meghan E. Lamm, University of South Carolina
Biobased Epoxy Resins with Thermo- and Chemo- Responsive Shape Memory Behavior

Alec J. Redmann, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Additively Manufactured B-Stage Epoxy for Adhesive Bonding in Composite Structures

Camila Zequine, Pittsburgh State University
Novel biobased polyol for high-performance flame retardancy polyurethane foam using
phosphorous containing corn oil

Invited poster presenters received:

  • Complimentary registration for the TRFA Annual Meeting
  • Opportunity to present their research as a poster during the TRFA Annual Meeting
    Tabletop Showcase