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Halogen-free SR project gets NSF grant

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(University of Akron photo)
Dr. Judith Puskas

AKRON (Sept. 2, 2014) — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $800,000 to University of Akron researcher Judith Puskas for her project to create a halogen-free synthetic rubber (SR) made from renewable resources.

Ms. Puskas has now raised $1.6 million for her project, with contributors including the NSF, the Breast Cancer Foundation and the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society, according to a University of Akron press release.

Potential applications include tire components, pharmaceutical stoppers and biomaterials.

“This funding will help push these new, eco-friendly materials to market,” Ms. Puskas said in the release. “The potential economic impact is significant as the research develops into commercial products.”

If successful, Ms. Puskas’ research project will result in a new material that will reduce the carbon footprint of the SR manufacturing process and produce improved, cost-effective thermoplastic biocompatible rubber, according to the university.

The halogen-free materials are based on the Allomatrix technology developed at the University of Akron—described by the NSF as a potential replacement for halobutyl rubber, which is used to make the gas-barrier inner liner of car tires and pharmaceutical stoppers—and tested by the NSF Center for Tire Research, a cooperative program between the University of Akron and Virginia Tech, the University of Akron said.

Ms. Puskas holds the Joseph M. Gingo Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of Akron. The chair is named after Joe Gingo, chairman, president and CEO of A. Schulman Inc. and previously a long-time top executive at Goodyear.

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