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Thomas & Sparks Enter Rubber Hall of Fame.

The inventors of butyl rubber, Robert M. Thomas and William J. Sparks, were inducted into the International Rubber Science Hall of Fame at The University of Akron's College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. Held in early November 1999, the induction ceremony followed a day-long symposium on the inventors' work and on current trends in related research.

The importance of butyl rubber is linked to the role it played as a replacement for tire inner tubes and curing bladders during World War II. Thomas and Sparks patented butyl rubber in 1937 while both were research scientists at Standard Oil (now Exxon). The two also made key contributions to the effort to develop the synthetic buna rubbers for tires that became the mainstay of U.S. synthetic rubber production during the war.

A graduate of Indiana University who earned his doctorate at the University of Illinois, Sparks held more than 120 patents, and was awarded the 1963 Charles Goodyear Medal by the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society. He died in 1976 at age 72. Thomas graduated from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, earned 80 U.S. patents, and received the Goodyear award in 1969. He died in 1984 at age 76.
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Comment:Thomas & Sparks Enter Rubber Hall of Fame.
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
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