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Dr. Lawrence T. Drzal, University distinguished professor of Chemical Engineering and Director-Composite Materials and Structures Center at Michigan State University’s College of Engineering, has been named the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award winner by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).
According to SPE, Drzal, the first academic winner of the award, is a composites expert who has specialised in surface and interfacial aspects of adhesively bonded joints plus the fiber/matrix interphase in composite materials and their processing; adhesion fundamentals; sustainable bio-based structural composite materials; and nanocomposite materials. During his career Drzal has given over 400 invited presentations at national and international conferences, published over 375 research papers, and has been awarded 35 patents. He will be honoured for his role leading transportation composites innovations at the 46th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala on November 9, 2016, at Burton Manor in Livonia, Michigan, US.
First given in 2000, SPE says its Automotive Lifetime Achievement Award recognises the technical achievements of individuals whose work – in research, design, and/or engineering – has led to significant integration of polymeric materials on passenger vehicles.
Drzal credits his early engineering and co-op training coupled with his industrial and military service for his “problem-definition approach to research, which has been characterised by observation of phenomena and identification of unresolved problems with common themes around technological advancement, sustainability, environmental friendliness, and benefit to society.” As a result, Drzal says he always has had the desire to provide both practical knowledge and fundamental knowledge in each research area and the research project he and his students have undertaken.
He is a founding member of both the Adhesion Society and the American Society for Composites and has served as president (1998-1999) of the Adhesion Society. He has Chaired the Gordon Conference on Adhesion and the Gordon Conference on Composites and has served in many other professional activities related to chemical engineering, composite materials, and adhesion. He served on the editorial board of journals in the adhesion and composite materials fields (Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing; Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy; Carbon Letters; and Nanocomposites) and was associate editor of the Journal of Adhesion. of Detroit.
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