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Plastics Students Win ‘Best Paper’ Award, Scholarship

Two students in the Plastics and Polymer Engineering Technology program at Pennsylvania College of Technology won an award for a research paper and received a scholarship at the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Annual Technical Conference 2000, held May 7-11 in Orlando, Fla.

A paper written by Desiree A. Nichols, Hughesville, a senior in the bachelor’s-degree program, was judged to be the best in SPE’s Engineering Properties Division. The award comes with a $1,000 check.

Michael J. Santini, Plumville, a junior in the Plastics and Polymer Engineering program, was awarded a $4,000 SPE scholarship.

The topic of Nichols’ paper was “Effects of Stress-Hardening on the Crystallinity of Polypropylene,” according to Dr. Stanley Baczek, an assistant professor of plastics technology who accompanied the students to the conference.

Nichols stretched samples of polypropylene injection-molded in the College lab and then determined the changes in crystallinity at various elongations, using differential scanning calorimetry and density measurements, Baczek said. She observed the onset of a different form of crystals with lower melting points as the amount of stretching approached the breaking elongation. Density measurements suggested that the stretching process also created voids between the crystals.

Santini was chosen as an SPE scholarship recipient, Baczek said, through a competitive application process that took into consideration grades, service to the department and faculty recommendations.

Founded in 1942, the Society of Plastics Engineers is a network of plastics professionals around the world promoting the knowledge and education of plastics and polymers.

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