Featured UA Polymer Technology

Polymeric drug delivery
Biodegradable polymer capsules time release medication ranging from common painkillers to complex proteins. An interdisciplinary team of business and biomedical engineering students plans to tailor the technology to release drugs that prevent post-atrial fibrillation (PAF), a condition affecting about 450,000 open-heart surgery patients annually.

Display coatings
TV viewers are seeing more clearly with the help of Frank Harris and Stephen Cheng’s ultra thin polymer films, which prevent light distortion to increase sharpness, clarity and the range of distortion-free viewing angles. In 2002, the professors formed Akron Polymer Systems to commercialize the coatings for use on high definition televisions and airplane cockpit instrument panels. The company, which now employs 10 records more than $1 million in annual sales, develops novel polymer coatings to meet industry needs.

Artificial pancreas
Created by filling a polymer pouch the size of a quarter with porcine insulin-producing cells, Joseph Kennedy’s artificial pancreas could be implanted anywhere in the human body as a long-term cure for diabetes. The device recently underwent successful animal tests at NEOUCOM and the Cleveland Clinic.

Nickel-zinc batteries
UA partnered with New York’s eVionyx and Northeast Ohio’s RPM International to develop nickel-zinc batteries for use in electric vehicles. Nickel-zinc batteries, which are less expensive, safer and lighter than other rechargeable batteries, use a polymer coating to prevent the formation of metal deposits within the battery. UA polymer science researchers, led by Mukerrem Cakmak, are optimizing the manufacturing process. Efficient batteries are crucial in storing the power generated by new energy sources, like solar cells and wind turbines.

Drug eluting coatings
Joseph Kennedy’s polymer coating slowly releases medicine to prevent scar tissue from forming over the stents that support arteries following heart surgery.  The coating has been used in more than one million surgeries as part of Boston Scientific’s TAXUS Express2 Coronary Stent System and is now being considered for other medical applications.

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