News Service


Valerie Sheares, Chemistry, (515) 294-2474
Tracy Griffin, News Service, (515) 294-4777


AMES, Iowa -- Valerie Sheares, an assistant chemistry professor at Iowa State University, has been awarded a $350,000 Early Career Development Grant by the National Science Foundation.

The five-year grant is awarded to outstanding new faculty who are beginning academic careers in research and education. The grant's funding began on Feb. 1, 1998.

Sheares will be working with three graduate students and one post doctorate student to design a new functional group of polymers, plastic-like materials used in things such as wire and cable coating; industrial belts and tires; and automobile tires. Their project, "New Materials Based on Polar, Functionalized Butadienes," will focus on producing new materials, modifying existing materials to improve their properties and discovering new applications for existing materials.

"Functionality leads to a change in the adhesive, mechanical, or thermal properties of a polymer," Sheares said. "The functionalized polymers will be more useful to industries because of the new properties. The new properties will then lead to new applications of polymers within industry."

In addition to the grant, the National Science Foundation will match support of $25,000 a year from outside sources in order to encourage partnerships. Sheares has obtained $75,000 in financial support over a three year period from DuPont.


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