What does it mean to you to be awarded?
-It means a lot to me and it is an indication that I am going in the right direction. I re-evaluate myself every now and then to see if I make progress in my chosen career and this award gives me a sense of satisfaction that I am doing the right thing. The great grandson of Leo Baekeland, Mr Hugh Karraker. Gave me a special gift which I will treasure for many years to come.
What does it mean to your research?
-This shows that our research group within polymer technology is working in an interesting area which is recognized by the scientific community. Professor Mikael Skrifvars has been a great inspiration by all standards, he is always there to assist in whatever form and see to it that we make progress constantly in our research.
What was the poster about?
- The title of the poster was “High Performance Natural Fibre Hybrid Composites Based on Renewable Thermoset Resins for Use in Technical Applications”. It is about health related issues, stringent environmental protection policies, search for cost effective and alternative materials and quest for renewability, sustainability and high performance materials for technical applications has led to an intense research in manufacturing biobased composites which are based on renewable thermosetting resins and natural fibres.
- The awareness on making composite materials from renewable resources is gaining ground and the manufacturers are looking for alternative biobased sources which are environmental friendly and biodegradable in nature. We have been able to manufacture hybrid composites using renewable agricultural resources instead of petrochemicals which are from non-renewable origin. We successfully reinforced thermoset resins of soybean oils using natural fibres such as flax. These composites can be used in the manufacturing of various spare part components for automobiles.
Were there many participants on the symposium?
-I think there were more than 100 participants at the conference. The participants were from the United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Japan, Korea, Belgium, France, Ukraine, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden etc.
Why is it named Baekeland Symposium?
-It is to honour Leo Baekeland, the father and inventor of the first synthetic thermoset called Bakelite. Dr. Baekeland had originally set out to find a replacement for shellac (made from the excretion of lac beetles). Chemists had begun to recognize that many natural resins and fibers were polymers, and Baekeland investigated the reactions of phenol and formaldehyde. He first produced a soluble phenol-formaldehyde shellac called "Novolak" that never became a market success, then turned to developing a binder for asbestos which, at that time, was molded with rubber. By controlling the pressure and temperature applied to phenol and formaldehyde, he found he could produce his dreamed-of, hard, moldable plastic: bakelite. The Bakelite Corporation was formed in 1922 (after patent litigation favorable to Baekeland) from a merger of three companies: the General Bakelite Company, which Baekeland had founded in 1910, the Condensite Company founded by J.W. Aylesworth, and the Redmanol Chemical Products Company founded by L.V. Redman.