Like all people, Harry Spinelli believes it is nice to be recognized for hard work and effort. However, receiving DuPont’s Lavoisier Medal was something he never expected. “I was very honored but extremely shocked when I first learned that I was to receive the award,” remembered Dr. Spinelli. “It is quite an honor to be recognized for an award that has previously been given to the great inventors of polymer science, including Dr. Wallace B. Carothers (Nylon) and Dr. Stephanie Kwolek (Kevlar).”
Presented each year in recognition of a career of technical achievements that have positively impacted the DuPont Corporation, the Lavoisier Medal is a goal for everyone on the technical side at DuPont. “Being honored by both the technical and business leaders of the company is the greatest achievement anyone can hope for,” Dr. Spinelli said. “Receiving this award is clearly the high point of my career. I am very fortunate to have worked on programs and with people that have made a difference.”
Specifically, Dr. Spinelli, who is a senior research fellow for DuPont Performance Coatings, was recognized for his work in polymerization and polymer designs. Most recently, Dr. Spinelli and his team have been working in the area of ink jet inks. It was their work that brought group transfer polymerization to commercial reality and developed products and technology that enabled DuPont to enter the market for pigmented ink jet inks.
“Working on ink jet inks has been an extremely enjoyable challenge that has allowed us to use technology developed within DuPont's Performance Coatings organization and apply it to a new market,” Dr. Spinelli said. “We had to be pathfinders and develop the science and technology needed for a new market. The whole process was extremely enjoyable because it allowed us as scientists to not only make advances in technology but to do so in a way that resulted in significant business success.”
As far as Dr. Spinelli and others at DuPont are concerned, the success its pigmented ink jet inks have presently realized is only the tip of the iceberg. According to Dr. Spinelli, ink jet technology will continue to develop in three major areas in coming years, allowing for massive increases in its prominence and profitability.
“First, more markets will develop that will use ink jet and pigmented ink jets inks as industry converts from analogue to digital printing,” Dr. Spinelli declared. “This will include markets such as textiles, commercial printing, and photography.
“Second, color pigmented ink jet inks will become more important in the industry as they are used in commercial, photographic, and even home printing,” Dr. Spinelli continued. “Everyone will want the permanence provided by pigments that are not achievable in dyes.
“Finally, the properties of pigmented ink jet inks will improve. They will be printed faster, have improved durability and better color, and provide improved reliability.”
While the complete realization of all these developments will require concentrated effort, Dr. Spinelli is continually working to achieve breakthroughs by combining DuPont’s technology with the offerings of its suppliers and the assistance of its customers. According to Dr. Spinelli, however, any and all advances that have been or will be made come as a direct result of the efforts of the entire team. “At DuPont, we have a great team composed not only of the technical staff, but also of marketing, manufacturing and operations. Only by working together and striving for excellence could we have achieved what we have in the area of pigmented ink jet inks,” Dr. Spinelli concluded. “While this award recognizes the achievements of an individual, those achievements would not have happened without the excellent work of the other team members.”