Louisiana researcher receives award for contributions to the science and technology of making synthetic rubber

December 03, 2000

James R. (Jack) Hall of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will be honored on December 8 by the world's largest scientific society for his many contributions to the science and technology of making synthetic rubber. He will receive one of four 2000 Industrial Innovation Awards from the American Chemical Society at its Southeast-Southwest Combined Regional Meeting in New Orleans.

Rubber hoses, weather stripping and single-ply roofing membrane are among the many products made from EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer), the type of synthetic rubber that is Hall's specialty.

"One of the early problems with EPDM was poor bale stability," said Hall. "The product would 'cold flow' and leak through packaging during storage and shipment."

Hall remedied the problem by modifying the rubber's molecular structure. This also made it easier to handle and ship.

Another innovation allowed EPDM to be used as a dispersant in motor oil. (Dispersants keep combustion by-products from clinging to engine surfaces.) Hall developed a method for producing a type of EPDM with very low molecular weight. "Because this type of EPDM doesn't break down easily, it helps the oil stay thick enough to protect the engine," he said.

Hall, who retired in 1999, began his career in 1959 with Copolymer Rubber & Chemical Company, which is now known as DSM Elastomers Americas.

Through its industrial innovation awards program, the American Chemical Society recognizes individuals and teams whose discoveries and inventions contribute to the commercial success of their companies and enhance the quality of life.

American Chemical Society

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