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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Chemical Engineer Xanthos Named Fellow: Newest Research Converts Recycled Plastic Soda Bottles To Styrofoam Building Insulation

The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) recently named plastics expert Marino Xanthos, Ph.D., a Society Fellow. Xanthos, a professor of chemical engineering and director of the Polymer Processing Institute (PPI) at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), works on finding new applications for recycled plastics.

Xanthos’ newest project has been to find new uses for plastic soda bottles. He recently modified these bottles to produce a new kind of residential and industrial insulation. Industrial chemical engineers throughout the region have expressed interest in licensing the product.

(Attention Editors: For more information about the conversion process and a walk through the lab, contact Sheryl Weinstein at 973-994-3257.)

Xanthos was named a Fellow at the annual SPE meeting and technical conference held last month in Nashville. Although more than 25,000 members belong to SPE, only 210 of them have been elected to the status of Fellow since the honor was established in 1984. Xanthos, a member since 1985, was elected not only for his research in polymer modification, but for helping this branch of chemical engineering, known as polymer engineering, advance as an academic discipline.

Since 1988, Xanthos has directed research for PPI where he supervises a staff of 15 professionals and graduate assistants in industry and government-sponsored research. The research typically focuses on polymer processing, development and recycling.

Xanthos received his doctoral and master’s degrees from the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry at University of Toronto. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Xanthos holds three U.S. and two Canadian patents and has been a regular technical consultant since 1987 to companies such as Elf-Atochem (France), Colgate-Palmolive, Roche Diagnostics, AT&T, Shell Chemical Co. and Cytec.

The NJIT Student Chapter of SPE presented at the same meeting 10 technical papers that were published in the proceedings of the Society’s annual technical conference. The students operated a booth displaying research achievements and activities. Xanthos said that the students made contacts with polymer engineers in higher education from schools, such as the University of Tennessee and the University of Akron, and companies including Owens Corning, Aspen Material and Ciba Specialty Chemicals.

Among the student presenters were undergraduates Jenny Jun, of Palisades Park, who focused on cross-linked, low-density polyethylene blends, Keino Hamilton, of Bloomfield, who talked about polypropylene with inorganic clays, and graduate student Georgia Chouzouri, of Kearny, who spoke about biodegradable polyesters. The student research was supported through scholarships of the Palisades section of SPE.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.