Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award

Submissions for the 2023 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award has ended.

The Thermoset Resin Formulators Association (TRFA) developed the Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research competition to encourage and recognize advances in the science, engineering, and technology of thermosetting polymers and their formulations, used in a variety of industrial applications such as adhesives, sealants, electronic encapsulants, coatings, composites, and molding compounds. It is intended to provide student researchers with visibility and exposure to potential future employers.

The competition is open to all BS, MS and PhD students at an accredited college or university in the USA and Canada.

Grand Prize
  • $1,500 cash award and an award plaque.
  • An invitation to present the winning paper at the 2023 TRFA Annual Meeting at The Westin Denver Downtown on May 8-11, 2023 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.

During 2019, 2020 and 2022 competitions, TRFA also awarded Honorable Mention Recipients with a $500 cash award, along with up to $500 in travel subsidies. Depending on the quality of submissions, the TRFA can also provide additional travel subsidies to students who would like to attend the TRFA Annual Meeting and display posters about their respective papers. See below for the full results of the 2022 Award Competition.

How to Participate
  • Entries must be in the form of research papers in the traditional scientific journal format.
  • The research topic should be related to Thermoset Polymer Science and Technology.
  • Submit a completed entry form and your research paper to TRFA Headquarters at [email protected], or via online form. Your entry form must be received no later than Friday, November 4, 2022 to be considered. Your paper must be received no later than Friday, December 9, 2022 to be considered.
  • Although complete papers are required for the judgment process, the award winner is NOT required to publish the paper in meeting materials and on the TRFA website. 


2022 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Winners

The Thermoset Resin Formulators Association (TRFA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 11th Annual Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Competition.

2022 Grand Prize Winner

 Moretza Ziaee, Colorado State University 
"Additive Manufacturing of Thermosetting Polymers and Composites with Tunable Functional Properties via Frontal Polymerization"

Thermoset polymers and their composites have been traditionally used in many applications due to their good combination of mechanical properties, thermal stability, and chemical resistance. Adoption of thermosetting materials in additive manufacturing (AM) for rapid creation of prototypes or development of parts with complex geometries, however, has been limited by the long and energy-intensive curing processes often required for curing the monomer. Here, we present a novel AM technique to address the existing limitations with thermoset printing and manufacture thermoset parts with various functional properties. In our approach, we use direct ink writing (DIW) technique to controllably deposit a thermosensitive ink based on dicyclopentadiene and simultaneously cure and solidify the ink after it exits the printing nozzle via frontal polymerization. As a result, we can create freeform structures with no post-cure step, which is
difficult or impossible to achieve using other printing techniques. We also tailor the functional properties of the printed parts by controlling the composition, reactivity, and rheological properties of the inks. As a result, we can print thermoset parts with tunable mechanical properties from stretchable, elastomeric parts to stiff polymers to fiber-reinforced polymer composites and also 3D print foams with various densities and mechanical properties.

2022 Honorable Mention

 Alyssa Necaise, University of Southern Mississippi
"Layered Epoxide-Amine/Boron Nitride/Graphene Nanocomposites for Enhanced Multifunctional Shielding"

The rapid development of high-power electromagnetic wave sources in the modern era has the ability to interfere with aircraft electronics. Multifunctional nanoparticles have been used in aerospace grade matrices to combat this issue; however, little research has been conducted in multilayer orientations combining thermally and electrically conductive
species. Epoxide-amine matrices with electrically/thermally conductive nanoplateletswere prepared using tetragylcidal  4,4’-diamindodiphenylmethane (TGDDM), 4,4’- diaminodiphenylsulphone (DDS), and SU-8, an octa-functional cross-linking agent. Hexagonal boron nitride and graphene nanoplatelets were used as functional particles.
Multilayer thin film laminates were prepared. The dispersion, layer orientation, rheological properties, and electrical/thermal conductivity of the multifunctional systems were measured using parallel plate rheometry, SEM, optical microscopy, TGA, and 4-point probe electrical conductivity test analyses. FT-IR analysis was also conducted to quantify
the matrix advancement throughout the cure profile. The data collected indicated that incorporation of the functional platelets increases the viscosity of the system while improving the electrical conductivity and inherent shielding abilities of the polymer matrix.


2020 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Winners

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


2019 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Winners

The Thermoset Resin Formulators Association (TRFA) is pleased to announce the 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"
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”