Should anyone want to know why functional, colorful and inexpensive plastic goods now flood retail stores, ask Kun Sup Hyun, a research professor in the department of chemical engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).
Hyun spent 35 years as a senior scientist at Dow Chemical Company. Developing a cheaper, safer and greener way to manufacture plastics for consumers–and industry too–numbered among his goals. Thanks in large part to Hyun, the company’s polymer processing research and development group grew and when he retired in 2001, Dow initiated in his honor the “Kun Sup Hyun Award for Excellence in Polymer Processing.” Last month, Hyun’s peers in the Society of Plastics Engineers awarded him the Fred O. Conley Award–one of that organization’s top annual honors.
Since 2001, Hyun has served as president of the Polymer Processing Institute (PPI) at NJIT. His NJIT colleagues say he added a giant benefit to the group. They note that his professional competence, and deep understanding of the American and international polymer engineering and processing industries has attracted, and resulted in contractual agreements with, industrial organizations in the U.S. and many from South Korea, his native country.
At NJIT, Hyun’s PPI work has focused on an analysis of reactive extrusion, bulk polymerization in particular, in single and twin-screw extruders, as well as multi-layer extrusion. He especially has enjoyed working on a college campus. “Being at NJIT has allowed me to nurture and develop young polymer processing engineers. That’s a real pleasure, transmitting my industrial expertise while managing collaborative projects with industry,” he said.
While at Dow, Hyun became known for his contributions in melt rheology and extrusion of polystyrene, polyvinylidene chloride, various low density polyethylenes, and polypropylene. He also developed using mathematical analysis and experiments a new solid conveying model for a single screw extruder. The method was successful in part because it took into consideration a pressure gradient across and along the screw channel.
Hyun also designed and improved finishing trains used in the Dow Chemical Company for manufacture of polymer resins. Such trains contained devolatilization units, gear pumps, extruders, screen systems, and pelletizing dies. He designed many screws that have set the standard in performance by increasing rates, and decreasing discharge temperature, energy consumption and manufacturing costs of Dow products (e.g. Saran Wraps, Styrofoam@ PS foams, Ziploc@ Bags). Dow still uses his designs and recommends them to customers.