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Drobny finishes new edition of TPE handbook

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MERRIMACK, N.H.—Thermoplastic elastomers remain a golden child in the polymer business, in both market growth and technical developments. Jiri “George” Drobny has some anecdotal evidence to support that fact.

While working on the second, updated edition of his “Handbook of Thermoplastic Elastomers,” the consultant and veteran of more than 40 years in the polymer field overhauled the list of recently granted TPE-related patents. The 2007 version showed 37 new patents recorded in about a five-month period; in the new version, covering just one month of patent information, 40 patents were granted.

“That was really something,” he said. “It shows how fast things are being discovered and patented.”

The dynamic changes in TPE technology gave technical book publisher Elsevier Inc. a good reason to ask Drobny to create a new version of the 404-page book published in 2007 by William Andrew Publishing, which today is a division of Elsevier.

The first edition—while a labor of love because Drobny is an experienced author and knows the field—was a mammoth project. Drobny's original manuscript was more than 1,000 pages, and he was pleased at how successfully William Andrew's editors whittled it down.

Drobny said he felt he needed a co-author this time around, but the publisher convinced him much of the very basic information didn't need major changes, and he could do it himself. “I was working on it for seven or eight months, while doing other things, of course,” he said. Besides his consulting business, Drobny Polymer Associates, he is an editor of TPE Magazine International.

He submitted his manuscript in May. The book, also available electronically, is 440 pages.

Drobny said it he did much work on updating the technical data sheets, “and I am very proud of those.” The same is true of processing data sheets, and lists of supplies.

“I had to scramble to get those changes,” he said, as there have been many switches in ownership of suppliers over the past seven years.

The author is pleased with the information on recent developments and trends in the new edition.

“It probably is much more thorough than in the first edition,” he said. “I learned more, had a chance to do some lecturing and consulting, going to many TPE conferences, and had access through the TPE magazine to learn about interesting developments and updates.”

Drobny added and changed a number of photos from the first edition—there are nearly 100 photos in the latest version—and included details about a variety of new TPE applications. He completely updated the information about processing, too.

The author, who lives in Merrimack, studied chemical engineering at the Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic. He later received a master's in physics and engineering of polymers at the University of Akron, and an MBA from Shippensburg State University.

Drobny entered the elastomers field as a bench chemist.

His resume includes time at Chemfab, Dunlop, B.F. Goodrich and as an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Other books he's authored cover fluoropolymer science and technology, radiation processing and elastomer technology.

Drobny is considering embarking on another book project, but that's still in the discussion phase. The new TPE book can be purchased online from Elsevier or