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RadTech honors emerging technologies


High school student honored for developing innovative use of UV for producing Kevlar

By David Savastano • Editor

The RadTech Emerging Technology Awards Dinner, held last night at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, IL, featured numerous honorees, including researchers and companies making great strides in UV/EB curing technologies.

However, perhaps the most intriguing award was the UV/EB Student Technology Award, which was presented to De’Andre Stafford-May, a Mississippi high school senior.

Working with professors and graduate students from the Polymer Science Research department at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), Mr. Stafford-May focused on the manufacture of Kevlar.

Working in conjunction with polymer science professors Dr. James W. Rawlins and Dr. Sergei Nazarenko and Ph.D. candidates Joshua Hanna and James Goetz, Mr. Stafford-May’s research showed the potential of reducing the curing time of Kevlar composites from 24 to 48 hours to just two minutes by using ultraviolet light.

Mr. Stafford-May’s project earned first place overall at the Region 1 Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair as well as first prize in chemistry and Army, Navy and Air Force Medals of Accomplishment. He also participated in the state science fair and took home first place in Chemistry and received a Navy Medal of Accomplishment.

Mr. Stafford-May has also been invited to an all-expenses paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh in May, where he’ll compete with more than 1,500 of his high school peers from around the globe for prizes including $4 million in scholarships.

“This is an impressive project,” said David Harbourne, president of Fusion UV, who noted that Fusion UV has worked closely with USM for the past 10 years on these types of research. “De’Andre wanted to see what he could do with Kevlar production, and he went outside the box. His project is very promising.”

In other awards, three companies received Emerging Technology Awards for their innovative work.

UniPixel, Inc. received the Emerging Technology Award for developing a low cost, transparent, conductive film manufactured using a roll-to-roll process by micro and nano-embossing a UV curable coating. UniPixel’s innovative films are now being tested in a large range of products including touch screens, cell phones, televisions and photovoltaics, and that all of their unique products have been enabled by using UV curable materials and coatings.

Interprint NA, a worldwide leading designer and printer of decorative papers used as the design layer in laminate surfaces such as kitchen countertops, flooring, furniture and retail fixtures, was honored with an Emerging Technology Award for its work on EB curing of coatings for decorative laminates on film structures.

Interprint noted that low voltage EB curing uses the least amount of energy when compared to other curing technologies, is odor-free, provides the required gloss level and achieves the extremely high requirements of scratch and abrasion resistance.

HRL Laboratories, LLC received an Emerging Technology Award for its Architecting Microlattice Materials, a new UV photopolymerization technique to create or “architect” microlattice materials in a rapid, scalable fashion.

“Once again we are excited to have three very different and three very innovative applications of UV and EB technology selected as our Emerging Technology Award Winners,” said Peter Weissman, of Quaker Chemicals, who presented the awards.

The RadTech Technical Committee presented 2012 Experience Scholarships to Patrick Kramer, a senior majoring in chemistry and mathematics at Rutgers University; and Bradley Sparks, a graduate student in the department of polymer science and engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Jared Williams of the University of Iowa received the Best Student Poster Award, and Katie Harrington of the University of Iowa received second place.

Joel Schall, Henkel Corporation, received Best Paper for his paper on Structure-Property Investigation of Functional Resins for UV-Curable Gaskets.

Mr. Kramer also was selected for the award for Best Student Paper for his paper on Control of Free Radical Reactivity in Photopolymerization of Acrylates.

“Once again, we had more than 100 abstracts submitted in our call for papers for the conference, and we are so impressed by the diversity and the quality of research undertaken in UV and EB technologies,” said Molly Hladik of Brewer Science, who served as Technical Conference chair.