Event Type:
MSE Seminar
Talk Title:
Polyolefin Circularity: Better measurements and data to enable change
College of Computing Building Room 16, Georgia Tech


In a Circular Economy, atoms and molecules are kept inside the economy where they continue to produce value, and they are kept out of unwanted places like our environment. At a high level, this concept applied to polymers and plastics should reduce the flow of material into the environment, while improving efficiency and reducing demand for natural resources, but the reality is much more complex. The talk will present some NIST activities in fundamental materials design and measurement relevant to specific needs in polyolefins, including understanding the impacts molecular design for improved recovery, better speciation of polyolefins, and models and process measurements to support improved compatibilization of polymer blends relevant to mechanical recycling.


Kate Beers is a senior research scientist at NIST. She leads the Circular Economy program, where she is engaged across the Institute in activities related to plastics recycling, new materials design, and environmental impacts of plastic waste. The program also includes elements of future data challenges, interfacing economics and other social sciences with materials research and manufacturing, and going beyond plastics challenges to critical minerals and other sectors. She has been recognized with the President’s Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), the Arthur S. Flemming Award for public service, the CMU Alumni Achievement Award and as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. Her research has focused on macromolecular characterization, and the design of precision surfaces and molecules to advance measurement science.