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On the lighter side of polymer research — no pun intended — Kent State University has been involved in a recent experiment along with USC to determine if the composition of new baseballs were the result of an uptick in home runs over the past few baseball seasons.

An $8 million project that uses additive manufacturing to replace parts on aging Air Force aircraft includes approximately 25 universities, research institutions, military bases and private companies.

On Friday, March 2nd, the dean of the University of Akron’s College of Polymer Science and Engineering (CPSE), Eric Amis, announced he would relinquish his position in June of this year. This is just the latest in a reduction of staff that the college has seen over the past two to three years–staff that has not been replaced by the financially strapped university.

In an effort to better monitor head impacts in the area of sports, a team of doctors and scientists called Prevent Biometrics have developed a smart mouthguard that monitors the number, direction and force of head impacts through a flexible circuit board embedded within the guard. The circuit board is held in place by a proprietary thermoplastic polymer.

Polymer Solar Cells (PSCs) may not ever replace tradional inorganic solar cells because of such stumbling blocks as raw material expense, longevity issues and lower power conversion efficiency, but there are a myriad of other applications for the technology. From uses in grocery stores and kitchens to dissolving them for printing, the PSCs can prove useful in niche markets.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is now accepting proposals for its 2018 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards. The competitive program encourages domestic small businesses to engage in federally funded research and development opportunities that have the potential for commercialization. Applications for Phase I will be accepted through April 4, 2018.

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