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University of Akron awarded federal grants to study rubber durability and non-silane coupling agents  

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Akron, OH - In a five-month period, beginning in April, faculty in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron were awarded federal research grants totaling more than $4 million. The substantial awards, for topics ranging from designing new materials inspired by a bird’s nest to 3D printing and nanocomposites, demonstrate the college’s ongoing strength in polymer innovations and applications of research, and highlight its worldwide reputation as a site for groundbreaking study. “I am extremely excited by the new research areas that my colleagues are working on,” said Dr. Ali Dhinojwala, interim dean of the college, who anticipates new ideas emerging from the research, including the development of new technologies, start-ups and job creation in northeast Ohio. “The University of Akron is a premier polymer program, and I am proud of our hard-working, creative faculty and their pursuit of excellence here.” Among those awarded was Dr. Li Jia with a grant of $50,000 from the National Science Foundation I-Corps Teams to advance commercialization of non-silane coupling agents to reinforce tires. Unlike other coupling agents, Jia’s novel chemistry does not generate environmentally harmful volatile organic compounds and may improve tire performance or mixing properties. Dr. Li Jia was also awarded $35,000 from the National Science Foundation Center for Tire Research (CenTiRe) to research using polymers to improve tire rubber durability.


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