Summary and Info
"Polymer Science and Engineering: Challenges, Needs, and Opportunities," a report issued in 1981 by the National Research Council's ad hoc Panel on Polymer Science and Engineering gives ample support for the urgent need of increased commitment to basic studies on polymers. Needs and opportunities, mentioned in the Panel's list, included polymerization methods, specialty polymers, high performance materials, and in situ (reaction injection molding) polymerization for direct conversion of monomers/oligomers to useful shapes. Clearly, in all these and several other areas, advances in polymer synthesis are needed. Whether one takes a look at the commodity or specialty polymers area or considers areas of growing needs, such as polymers for the automotive, aerospace, electronics, communications, separations, packaging, biomedical, etc., advances in polymer synthesis are needed. Polymeric materials, as they are constantly being modified and improved, fine-tuned for current and additional needs, and more readily adopted by industry and the public, will have a vastly expanding influence on everyday life. However, lack of long-term support of meaningful size for basic research on all facets of polymer chemistry and engineering, with particular emphasis on making needed advances in polymer synthesis, could well stunt the growth of high techn.ology in our country. Expanding this thought, lack of attention to basic research on polymer synthesis could help foster or insure that we won't have materials with performance profiles to meet requirements of emerging technologies and national needs, in a reasonably economic and timely fashion.
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