Collaborative work wins 2017 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize

Feb. 14, 2018 - The development of a new additive that helps meld incompatible types of plastic together, which holds important implications for recycling, has won the 2017 Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Association's oldest prize, supported by The Fodor Family Trust, annually recognizes the author(s) of an outstanding paper published in the Research Articles or Reports sections of the journal Science between June and the following May.

Due to their remarkable work, James Eagan and his colleagues at Cornell University, with contributions from Regents Professor Frank Bates, Professor Emeritus Chris Macosko, and CEMS graduate student Jun Xu, will receive the 2017 Newcomb Cleveland Prize. The research was originally published by Science on Feb. 24, 2017. The full list of researchers who contributed to the award-winning work and related Science paper "Combining polyethylene and polypropylene: Enhanced performance with PE/iPP multiblock polymers" include: James M. Eagan, Jun Xu, Rocco Di Girolamo, Christopher M. Thurber (Ph.D. ChE '15), Christopher W. Macosko, Anne M. LaPointe, Frank S. Bates, and Geoffrey W. Coates. The work was supported by the Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP), an NSF sponsored program.

Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) make up a combined two-thirds of the world's plastics, making these materials the two most abundantly-produced plastics worldwide. Despite their ubiquity, differences in their chemical structures have prevented them from being recycled together. Like oil and water, the two materials do not blend well. The research group has designed a multiblock polymer that can combine these two materials into a single plastic composite.

The Newcomb Cleveland Prize will be presented at the 184th AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 15, 2018. Click on the link below to read the complete AAAS news release.

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