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3-D Printing focus of Distinguished Polymer Lecture Series
Timothy Long, director of Macromolecules Innovation Institute at Virginia Tech, will speak about cutting edge polymer technology on Friday, Nov. 10, at Pittsburg State University’s Distinguished Polymer Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public.

3-D Printing focus of Distinguished Polymer Lecture Series

Imagine being able to print your next set of eye glasses at your kitchen table. Or, rather than having to stock hundreds of spare parts, your auto dealer simply prints the part you need while you wait. These scenarios may sound like science fiction, but they may soon become reality thanks to advances in 3-D printing, and polymer chemistry.

“We’re talking about printing satellites,” said Timothy Long, professor of Chemistry at Virginia Tech and director of the Macromolecules Innovation Institute. “The field is rapidly progressing beyond trinkets and toys that everyone identifies with when they think of 3-D printing. In reality, people are using 3-D printing now to manufacture parts that have very large demands on their performance.”

Students, community, and business leaders will have the opportunity to hear directly from Professor Long on Friday, Nov. 10, when he visits Pittsburg State University’s campus for the university’s Distinguished Polymer Lecture Series.

Long, who is this semester’s distinguished speaker, is the latest in a long-line of renowned polymer chemists according to Petar Dvornic, Pittsburg State’s Chemistry Chair and Polymer Chemistry professor.

“We only select speakers who are the forefront of polymer chemistry research,” said Dvornic. “They are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. We’re talking about chemists from institutions such as Cal-Tech, Carnegie Melon, and, with Professor Long, Virginia Tech. It’s a tremendous opportunity for our students because they get to hear about the very latest advances in science. They also often compare the research they are doing in our labs (with our faculty) and discover that it, too, is cutting edge.”

Long’s lecture will focus on 3-D printing and the important role polymers and engineers will play in ensuring the technology becomes common place in our lives.

"The key to the future,” said Long. “Is bringing mechanical engineers together with chemists and developing in parallel both novel materials, and novel printing. That’s the paradigm we’ve been chasing at Virginia Tech. To make this as interdisciplinary as possible.”

That interdisciplinary approach is also taking place at Pittsburg State University through its Polymer Chemistry Initiative with one major difference.

“We are one of only a handful of universities that are doing this (interdisciplinary approach) at the undergraduate level,” said Dvornic. “Our program brings together polymer chemistry, chemical engineering and chemistry to create what we call the Polymer Chemistry Initiative. Our goal is to produce students who are fully prepared for success at the graduate level and institutions such as Virginia Tech.”

Long agreed with Pittsburg State’s approach to its Polymer Chemistry Initiative.

"What you’re doing on campus is an excellent example of what we need to be doing,” said Long. “Not only to advance the field or technology, but also to educate the next generation of scientists, and the next generation of engineers. I think it will lead to graduates that are incredibly valuable to the future.”

Professor Timothy Long’s lecture, “3-D Printing Needs New Polymers: From Printed Satellites to Printed Pharmaceuticals,” will take place at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, in Room 102 of Yates Hall on the campus of Pittsburg State University. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Additional information about Pittsburg State University’s Polymer Chemistry Initiative is available athttp://www.pittstate.edu/department/chemistry/polymer/index.dot.

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