Polymer From Plants


The Golden Gate Polymer Forum June 2007 Dinner Lecture
       Wednesday, June 20
       Michael's Restaurant at
Shoreline Park, Mountain View

" Polymers from Plants"
       Shaw Ling Hsu
       Professor and Department Head

       Polymer Science and Engineering
       University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Although the percentage of petroleum used to manufacture materials is quite small in comparison to the amount used for transportation, there are very important reasons to manufacture materials from plants. The principal advantage is the economic benefits arising from the use of natural feedstocks that are currently underutilized. In addition, these feedstocks provide an alternate source for the manufacture of materials. This feature is particularly important in the current booming economic environment when a shortage in some important chemicals is limiting the development of new products. Two examples will be provided to illustrate the use of plant based polymers. Our studies have focused on the use of polyols from soybeans to manufacture polyurethanes with interesting physical properties. The achievable physical properties are directly related to the molecular weight of polymers between crosslinks. In this case, the multi-functionalities can be controlled by chemical routes or the use of gene technology to control the composition of the soybean oil. Importantly it should be emphasized that hysteresis often experienced in polyurethane foams can be reduced by the incorporation of lignin, generally regarded as waste from paper and pulp manufacturing processes. Their incorporation reduces the molecular weight between crosslinks. Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is another polymer that can be manufactured from plants. Unlike other polyesters manufactured from petroleum, this polymer is not well understood. Characterization of the chain configuration, conformation, 3-d packing, the stereocomplex and processing related structural transformations are all important considerations in the product development phase. PLA is being considered for use in a number of pharmaceutical applications. Control of its structure and derived physical properties have been characterized using a number of experimental techniques in conjunction with theoretical conformation analysis.

Speaker Background:
Education: Ph. D., Physics, The University of Michigan
Professional Affiliations:
American Physical Society High Polymer Physics Division
American Chemical Society Polymer Division
Honors and Awards:
Phi Beta Kappa
Danforth Foundation Fellow
Sigma Xi Honorary Research Society
National Science Foundation Creativity Award
American Physical Society Fellowship
University of Massachusetts Faculty Fellowship
Research Activities:
Spectroscopic analysis of polymers, Development of environmentally appropriate materials, Characterization of multiphase materials including reactive blends, Structural characterization of polymer structure in restricted geometry (surfaces/interfaces), Deformation behavior of polymers, Aging behavior of polymers, Residual stress in coatings.  Author of over 220 publications.



DATE:            Wednesday, June 20
Location:        Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park, Mountain View
       See directions below.

Timing:       6 PM  social hour
                   7 PM  dinner
                   8 PM  lecture

Cost:             $30 with advance registration
            Half price for students, retired, and unemployed. (late fee still applies, if applicable)
            Free if you attend just the lecture at 8PM.
                     (but please let us know for headcount)
                    $40 after registration deadline
, if possible.Please contact us to inquire.
DIRECTIONS to Michael's at
Shoreline Park:
Restaurant's web page directions
From 101 in Mountain View, take the Shoreline Boulevard
Exit toward the Bay. Drive past the Shoreline Amphitheater
and go straight ahead on Shoreline, entering into Shoreline Park.  
After a mile or so inside the park, a sign for Michael's will
direct you to turn left into the parking lot for Michael's


2960 N Shoreline Blvd.

Restaurant phone: 650-962-1014
Do NOT call restaurant for reservations.

PLEASE NOTE:  we accept cash or checks, but are unable to accept payment by credit card at this time.   You may pay at the door.

Deadline for registration:    5 PM, Monday, June 18
Please register on the web page

Or, contact:  
       Leonard Radzilowski
       (650) 361-3264

You should receive confirmation of your registration; if not, please contact us again.


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