Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award

Submissions for the 2022 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award are open! Details can be found below.

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.

Eligibility
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 TRFA Annual Meeting on May 4, 2022 in Dallas, Texas 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.

ADDITIONAL PRIZES MAY BE AWARDED!
During 2019 and 2020 competitions, TRFA also awarded TWO 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 2020 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 5, 2021 to be considered. Your paper must be received no later than Friday, December 10, 2021 to be considered.
  • Although complete papers are required for judgment process, the award winner is NOT required to publish the paper in meeting materials and on TRFA website. 

 

Apply Online
Download Guidelines

 

Entry form submissions must be received no later than Friday, November 5, 2021 to be considered.  Paper submissions must be received no later than Friday, December 10, 2021 to be considered.


 

2020 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Winners

Winners from the 2020 Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award Competition will be featured during the TRFA 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting.  

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 (canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • Two-night complimentary accommodation at the TRFA meeting hotel.
  • Additional travel allowance for one person up to $500.
  • The 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) was 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 will be presented at the meeting
  • Complimentary registration for the TRFA Annual Meeting in Denver, CO (canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic)
  • 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 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 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 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