PITTSBURGH—TA Instruments has entered into a partnership with the National Elastomer Center at Ferris State University to support advanced research concepts and meet the challenges faced by today's rubber industry.
TA donated an elite rubber process analyzer and sample cutter to aid Ferris State in the development of advanced characterization techniques and research. The focus will be on rheological measurements as a means to understand raw polymers and filled compounds.
Russell Ulbrich, TA Instruments director of product management, said the firm always has invested heavily to subsidize equipment to be used by universities. “We think it is extremely important that the younger researchers have the ability to have the equipment necessary to measure the things they need to measure,” he said at the Rubber Expo in Pittsburgh.
The instruments firm has other programs where it awards equipment to new scientists who are highly recognized by peers and superiors, Ulbrich said. “We want to be there at the forefront of the research and on the academic side as well as working closely with the researchers in industry,” he said. “We think it gives us a competitive edge to be able to do that.”
The donation of TA's advanced materials equipment will help boost the rubber curriculum and coursework at Ferris State, said Marc Guske, an assistant professor in the school's Plastics and Rubber Engineering Technology Program. “Access to TA Instruments and their experience in the fields of physical testing and rheology will raise the level of education and provide better research tools for both industry and academia,” he said.
TA and Ferris State also are looking to develop a series of seminars and workshops focused on rubber compounding and characterization of polymers and elastomers.
“At the end of the day it's more about advancing the science on both ends,” Ulbrich said. “We want to stay at the forefront of having the best material characterization equipment, and they want to stay at the forefront of having the best training and education that they can give the students so they get out into the industry as real contributors.”