You are here

Ph.D. students win the 3rd Annual Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award

News International-French

1 Nov 2012

The Thermoset Resin Formulators Association (TRFA) has announced that Mohamed Baqar, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, is the winner of the 3rd Annual Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award.

His paper, "Methylol-Functional Benzoxazines: Novel Precursors for Phenolic Thermoset Polymers,” has been presented at the TRFA 2012 Annual Meeting, end of October at Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Mr. Baqar’s study represents a pioneer class of high performance benzoxazine resin by incorporating methlol group into benzoxazine structure. The presence of methylol groups exhibits an additional condensation reaction along with the polymerizationof polybenzoxazine. In addition, these groups play a significant role in accelerating polymerization which improved the thermal properties of the produced polymer.


Because the competition for the Excellence in Thermoset Polymer Research Award was especially close this year, TRFA is also awarding a second place prize to Brendan McDonald of the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, for his paper "Biomimetic Micro-Structured Surfaces: Pattern Transfer and Fabrication of Icephobic Epoxy Surfaces.”


Mr. McDonald’s paper considers how utilizing a two-stage pattern transfer process, a superhydrophobic surface was generated with an epoxy material possessing a micro-patterned array of pillars where subsequent characterization has observed several properties that indicate a potential effectiveness as a robust icephobic surface coating. In contrast to much recent work, the use of an epoxy material to generate superhydrophobic surfaces is rare compared to the more common use of PDMS or polyurethane composites within adhesion or coating applications. This work addresses several practical issues related to the icing of surfaces within an outdoor environment, including both ice-adhesion and the hydrophobic characteristics within a variable temperature environment.


TRFA has also announced four Honorable Mention Awards. They are:

  • Jia Liu, Case Western Reserve University, Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, "Anomalous Isomeric Effect on the Properties of Bisphenol F-based Benzoxazines: Towards the Molecular Design for Higher Performance."
  • Gaurav Pandey, University of Delaware, Department of Mechanical Engineering, "Smart Tooling for Thermoset Polymer Based Fiber Composites." 
  • Ardavan Zandiatashbar, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Mechanical Engineering, "Temperature Sensitivity of Mechanical Properties in Epoxy-Graphene Nanocomposites."
  • Malia Zee, North Dakota State University, Department of Polymers and Coating Materials, "Molecular Dynamics Studies of Degrading Thermoset Networks." 

In 2010, TRFA initiated the award for student researchers to encourage and recognize advances in the science & engineering of thermosetting polymers.