The Department of Chemistry at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville hosted a UT/VT Polymer Workshop on April 18th and 19th. The workshop was attended by more than 70 faculty, students and researchers from UT, Virginia Tech, Oak Ridge National Lab and other institutions in the surrounding area.
“The goal of the workshop is to develop collaborations, enhance interactions, and provide the foundation for future joint research ventures, with a particular emphasis on developing large collaborative teams that can compete for large center type grants,” said Dr. Mark Dadmun, professor of chemistry at UT and Chair of the workshop organizing committee.
During the two-day workshop, faculty and students presented 20 talks and 41 posters focused on three areas in polymer chemistry – interfaces in nanocomposites, blends adhesives, and films; additive manufacturing; and transport in polymer membranes. “I was very happy with the workshop, and thought that it was a resounding success,” said Dadmun. “The participation, enthusiasm, and interactions during the talks and posters were exactly what I had hoped for. I think that the format of the workshop engaged both students and faculty. I am certain that the UT and VT polymer program will continue these workshops in the future, and we may even bring in other polymer programs from the Southeast to broaden the interactions among the polymer community in this part of the country. I also believe that real scientific collaborations between the two universities will quickly emerge from these interactions.”
Dr. Tim Long, professor of chemistry at VT, was excited about this “renewed partnership” between the two polymer programs. “…our teaming will provide real scientific leadership in our region and across the nation. Great ideas emerged in our discussions, and I think this workshop will catalyze exciting new proposals in macromolecular science and engineering.” Long said.
The workshop, sponsored by the Office of Research at UT and the Macromolecules Innovation Institute at VT, attracted not only polymer chemists, but also researchers from various engineering departments to learn more about current research trends in polymer chemistry. “I got to know more about this type of research and it is the first time I presented a poster.” Nadim Hmeidat, a Graduate Research Assistant in the Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering Department at UT commented. “We are dealing more with the mechanical and rheological properties of polymers,” Hmeidat added. “But I personally enjoyed the talks and am excited about the possible opportunities for collaborations in the future.”