One hurdle to successful commercialization has been the inability to produce prototype quantities of new polymers for evaluation by potential customers. UA's pilot plant is designed specifically for the production of sample quantities of new polymers.
The University of Akron's polymerization pilot plant consists of a 1 liter, a 15 liter and a 50 liter reactor. There are two sets of reactors, one glass-lined and one Teflon-coated stainless steel. This enables polymerization at high temperatures under most chemical conditions. Furthermore, with temperature control from over 250 deg. C to -80 deg C., cationic, anionic, free radical, and condensation polymerizations can be carried out. These vessels are rated from vacuum to 150 PSI. Augmenting the pilot plant is state of the art analytical capability. Determination of physical, mechanical and chemical properties of polymers by all conventional and state of the art techniques are also available. The analytical resources extend to evaluation of polymer processing such as injection molding, extrusion, and thermoforming. The experienced team below of Parley Lane and Harlan Jewett supports the operation of the pilot plant.