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Vol. 33 No. 5
September-October 2011

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/indexes/Conferences

World Forum for Advanced Materials

The 19th World Forum for Advanced Materials, POLYCHAR 19, was held in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, which started on 20 March 2011 with the Short Course on Polymer Characterization and ended on 24 March. This IUPAC-sponsored event was organized by Rameshwar Adhikari and his team from the Tribhuvan University Kathmandu and by the Nepal Polymer Institute Kathmandu.

Byung-Wook Jo, Chosun University, Korea, with his Paul J. Flory Polymer Research Prize.

The conference began with a traditional Nepalese inauguration ceremony that took place in the Open Theatre of the Park Village Resort Hotel. Chaired by the vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University, Madhab Prasad Sharma, the ceremony received much public attention because it featured a welcome address by the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal. In his address, he stressed the relevance of holding this globally important materials science meeting in Nepal during the International Year of Chemistry. The Opening Ceremony was closed with a welcome address by a representative of the IUPAC Polymer Division. The conference was broadcast and publicized by several national Nepali media including Himalayan Television, Kantipur Television, Nepal Television, radios stations, and the Nepali national daily and weekly newspapers.

The scientific program covered a broad range of materials science topics with sessions focussing on Predictive Methods and Simulations, Nano-and Smart Materials, Electrical and Dielectrical Properties, Surfaces, Interfaces and Tribology, Mechanical Properties and Performance, Rheology and Processing, Structure-Properties Relationships, Materials Synthesis and Characterization, Biomaterials, and Materials for Energy and Recycling. In total, there were 137 oral contributions and 117 posters with 382 registered participants from 46 countries. The six keynote speakers represented six continents.

The conference began with a Short Course in Polymer Characterization, a traditional one-day tutorial taught by distinguished specialists. Chaired by Valerio Causin (University of Padova, Italy) and Sven Henning (Fraunhofer institute for Micromechanics, Halle, Germany), it covered a wide range of topics. Following is a brief sampling: Polymer Tribology (Witold Brostow, University of North Texas, Denton, USA), Polymer Characterization by Scattering Techniques (Jean-Michel Guenet, Institute Charles Sadron, Strasbourg, France), Dynamic-Mechanical and Calorimetric Analysis of Polymers (Michael Hess, University of Siegen, Germany), Chromatographic Characterization of Polymers (Dusan Berek, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia), and Trends in Chemistry of Nanocomposites (Anatolii D. Pomogailo, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia). Participants were provided with hand-outs of the teaching material and the lecturers were available for discussions throughout the duration of the conference.

It is always difficult to select specific contributions from the multitude of excellent presentations reflecting the wide span of aspects of Materials Science. One main focus of POLYCHAR 19 certainly was systems related with submicron structures in different fields of materials science. “Nano” was the magical term in many contributions that sneaked into all fields mentioned above, as these examples show:

  • Greiner (Marburg, Germany): “All-Biodegradable Functional Water-Stable Polymer Nanofibre Nonwovens by Green Electrospinning”
  • H. Schönherr (Siegen, Germany): “Block-Copolymer Nanocapsules for Advanced Wound Management- Fabrication, Structure, and Properties”
  • B. Hsiao (New York, USA): “Highly Efficient Nanofibrous Membranes for Water Purification”
  • L. Leibler (Paris, France): “Creating and Controlling Structure and Dynamics on Nano-and Meso ScalesYields Self-Healing”
  • M. Matsuo (Dalian, China): “Electric-and Dielectric Properties of Nano-Composites Prepared by Gelation/Crystallization from Solution”
  • J.-J. Pireaux (Namur, Belgum): “Spectroscopic Characterization of Hybrid Organic-Inorganic” Materials at the Nanoscale

As these lecture titles clearly show, the conference tended to focus on structure, properties, and applications of nanoscopic systems and environmental and bio-medical applications. There were vivid discussions throughout the breaks and at the end of each day.

Prof. Alejandro Mueller (right), Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela,
receiving the Paul J. Flory Polymer Research Prize from Michael Hess (left).

The highlight of each POLYCHAR conference is the distribution of awards before the closing ceremony. The prestigious Paul J. Flory Polymer Research Prize that was given ex aequo to Byung-Wook Jo of Chosun University in Korea and to Alejandro Mueller of Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela for their outstanding contributions to the field of polymer drugs and confined crystallization in nanostructured polymers, respectively.

POLYCHAR’s International Materials Science Prize was given to Sven Henning, Fraunhofer Institute for Materials Mechanics, Halle, Germany, for his contributions to electron microscopy of nano-structured polymers and biomaterials.

Three IUPAC Poster Prizes were awarded:

  • Rujirat Longloilert (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand): “Novel Silica Source for Synthesis of MCM-48 via Sol-Gel Process”
  • Marilia M. Horn (Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos): “Rheological Characterization of Chitosan/Starch Blends: Variation in Polyols and Amylopectin Content”
  • Mykola Borzenkov (Lviv Polytechnic National University, Lviv): “Novel Surface Active Monomers Based on Tert-Butylperoxy-6-Hydroxyhexanoate”

The Jürgen Springer and the Bruce Hartmann Prize for Young Scientists went to:

  • Chengcheng Yang (University of Pisa, Pisa): “Designed Coating Surfaces from Water-Borne Semifluorinated Polymer Particles Obtained by Cyclodextrin-Assisted Emulsion Polymerization”
  • Tea Datashvili (University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA): “Well-Ordered SiO2 Rods and Recycled Polyethylene + Silica Functionalized Wood Composites”

The Carl Klason Prize for the best Students’ Presentation were awarded to the following students:

  • Guy Mechrez (Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa): “High-Elongation MWNT Networks: Preparation, Characterization and Nano-structuring”
  • Larisa Dobircau (University of Rouen, France): “Acoustic Properties of a 100% Natural Composite Reinforced by Bamboo Fibers”
  • Severene Rose (ESPCI, Paris): “Nano-Hybdrids PDMA/Silica Hydrogels: From Structure to Properties”

Diplomas of Distinction for their excellent scientific work and presentation of it were handed out to:

  • Nicolaas Christiaan Basson (University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch): “The Effect of Compatibilizer on the Properties of Impact Polypropylene/Pinus Radiata Wood Polymer Composites”
  • Paramjit Kaur (Thapar University, Patiala, Punjab): “Synthesis of Polylactide under Inert Atmosphere and Vacuum”
  • Santosh Khanal (Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu): “Preparation and Properties of Styrene-Isoprene-Styrene (SIS) Triblock Copolymer Based Nanocomposites”

The conference was sponsored by the Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, the LECAP Laboratory of Prof. Jean-Marc Saiter, University of Rouen, France, the Third World Academy of Sciences and Technology, the Nepal Tourism Board, the Park Village Hotel & Resort, Kathmandu, Nepal Polymer institute, Kathmandu, the University Grants Commission, Nepal, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, the Polymer Standards Service, Germany, and Gulf Air, Bahrain.

The name POLYCHAR stands for polymer characterization and dates back to the days when the it was an annual event at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Over the years it has expanded to cover the whole range of polymeric materials as well non-polymeric materials science. In 2004, POLYCHAR was held in Guimarães, Portugal, the first time outside Texas. It was followed by Singapore in 2005, Nara (Japan) in 2006, Buzios (Brasil) in 2007, Lucknow (India)in 2008, Rouen (France) in 2009, Siegen (Germany) in 2010. POLYCHAR 20 is scheduled for 26–30 March 2012 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.


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