Swinburne Lecture delivered in Belfast

The Polymer Society
29 Jun 2011

On 24 March 2011 Professor Ton Peijs from Queen Mary
University of London delivered the prestigious Swinburne Lecture to an audience
gathered at the International Conference on the Manufacturing of Advanced Composites
(ICMAC) that was being held in Belfast, UK.

Prof. Ton Peijs received his PhD from Eindhoven University
of Technology. From 1991 until 1999 he was assistant professor at Eindhoven. He
moved to QMUL in 1999, where he is currently Professor of Polymer Technology.
He is also a part-time professor at Eindhoven and a visiting professor in
Patras University.

Prof. Peijs made notable contributions to areas such as
biobased materials, natural fibre reinforced plastics, polymer fibres,
thermoplastic composites and nanocomposites. He has pioneered the development
of eco-composites; this includes work on bio-based polymer composites and more recently
on the development of fully, recyclable all-polymer composites. His group also
examines nano-scale architectures in polymer composites, the creation
of high-performance fibres, intelligent nanocomposite films and conductive polymer fibres for
sensors applications and smart textiles.

The Swinburne Medal and Prize recognises the achievement of
a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement and
knowledge of any field related to the science, engineering or technology of
plastics. It is a requirement of acceptance that the recipient shall prepare
and deliver the Swinburne Lecture on an occasion selected by the Institute. The
Award consists of a medal and £250 honorarium.

Sir James Swinburne (1858-1958) is regarded as the ‘Father
of the British Plastics Industry' as he worked to patent an important new
plastic made by mixing phenol and formaldehyde. This dark, resinous product had
first been formed some thirty years earlier by German chemist Adolf von Bayer.
Swinburne considerably improved the method of preparing the resin, using a
catalyst to accelerate production. Unknown to him, a chemist working
independently in America, Belgian-born Leo Hendrik Baekeland, also recognised
the resin's value. He patented the material in 1907, one day earlier than
Swinburne, and named it Bakelite.

ICMAC 2011 was the ninth time that the conference,
formerly The International Conference on Automated Composites, has been held
and it drew in an international delegation of over 100 people from 13 different

Prof. Peijs's lecture, originally entitled "Making Composites without Matrix" but
later renamed by Prof. Peijs to "Making
Composites with a Little Bit of Matrix
" - to show that plastics were actually
used!, showed how composite materials could be produced from single polymer
systems that mimic the way in which nature forms composite materials.

Prof. Peijs demonstrated that these new materials could be
easily manufactured and formed and may find wide ranging applications in a
variety of industries from automotive to defence and personal safety, in
leisure, construction, furniture and design. The materials are also sustainable
in that they can be both recycled easily and also made from recycled materials

Download Prof. Peijs's Swinburne Lecture presentation
on the link below.