Raymond Seymour Papers
Scope and Contents
Papers, correspondence, journal articles, certificates, awards, master's thesis, doctorial dissertations, etc. from Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Seymour is the inventor of high-imact polystyrene, engineering polymers, polymer concrete and disposable baby diapers.
These materials provide an overview of Dr. Seymour's career as a research chemist and polymer researcher in both private industry and academia for fifty years. Dr. Seymour was a prolific writer in the polymer science field.
- Creation: circa 1935-1985
Conditions Governing Access
Noncirculating; available for research.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Biographical / Historical
Raymond B. Seymour was an American chemist that was responsible for many plastic material developments. He started his professional career with Goodyear Tire and Rubber in 1937, where he produced and patented their first synthetic plastic, which was sold under the trade name of Pliovic®. He then joined Atlas Minerals in 1939 as their Chief Chemist, where he developed and patented one of the first thermosetting plastic concretes. This filled furan composite was sold commercially as Alkor®. He also developed one of the first interpenetrating network plastics while at Atlas.
Seymour then joined the Monsanto Corporation as a group leader for plastics research in 1941. There he developed and patented amorphous silica-filled thermoplastics for dentures and other composite applications. He also developed Cadon®, one of the first engineering plastics, and one of the first high impact polystyrenes (HIPS). His research and development team developed Acrylan® acrylic fibers and also developed techniques for the commercial production styrene monomer and polystyrene.
In 1945, he became a Professor and Director of Research at the University of Chattanooga. There he produced transparent sheets of ionomers of methyl methacrylate and methacrylic acid for the Office of Naval Research. He converted the surface layer of these polymers to salts with improved resistance to abrasion. He also produced nylon reinforced thermoset polyester composites with superior impact resistance for the Navy. In the late 1940’s he became Director of Research for Johnson and Johnson where he directed the development of plastic body casts, polyvinyl chloride adhesive bandages, and RayTex® x-ray opaque PVC filaments adhered to surgical sponges. Returning to Atlas Minerals as Technical Director and President, he developed “simulated marble” (polyester concrete), which was used in the construction of chlorine dioxide bleaching towers in almost every American and Canadian paper mill. He also developed and patented commercial reinforced plastic structures, root-resistant plastic pipe joints, and PVC tank linings.
Seymour eventually became a plastics and polymer educator. He started the plastics degree program at Los Angeles Trade Tech College; was a Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Sul Ross University; and Associate Director of Research and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Houston. After retirement from the University of Houston, Seymour served as a Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Raymond B. Seymour authored over thirty-five books, wrote more than 1,500 research & technical articles for scientific journals, and 250 chapters in books & encyclopedias in the field of Polymer Science. Dr. Seymour was awarded 45 U.S. patents and held more than 100 foreign patents.
Raymond B. Seymour was called "the world's best-known and most prolific polymer scientist" by Polymer News and was the first Mississippian to receive the American Institute of Chemists (AIC) Chemical Pioneer Award in 1985. The Chemical Pioneer Award recognizes chemists, chemical engineers, or their associates who have made outstanding contributions which have had a major impact on advances in chemical science and industry and/or the chemical profession. This award was first given in 1966.
Dr. Seymour received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of New Hampshire and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He is a recipient of the Charles Herty and Southern Chemist awards from the American Chemical Society.
In 1988 he was selected for membership in the Plastics Hall of Fame. The honor is reserved for those persons who have significantly advanced the field of plastics in the United States.
31.50 Cubic Feet (total) : 107.B4.E1-G4
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