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World's Leading Academic Expert in Vinyl Chemistry Recognized for Outstanding Service to the Industry

Sep 2016
VI Executive Committee and Dr. and Mrs. Starns

During the 2016 Vinyl360 Conference and Congressional Fly-in, the Vinyl Institute honored Dr. William H. Starnes with the Roy T. Gottesman Leadership Award at the vinyl industry annual meeting last week in Washington DC. Dr. Starnes is the first academic to receive this award, which was established in honor of the Vinyl Institute’s founding director and recognizes outstanding service to the vinyl industry during a person’s career. Currently Gottwald Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at the College of William and Mary, Dr. Starnes is considered to be the world’s leading academic expert in the chemistry of vinyl plastics. His areas of expertise encompass, among others, the degradation, stabilization, molecular microstructures, polymerization mechanisms, fire retardance, and smoke suppression of technologically important synthetic polymers -- especially PVC.

“It was an honor having Bill and his wife, Sofia, join us at our annual vinyl industry conference. Over the course of his career, he has made so many invaluable contributions to the vinyl industry,” said Richard Doyle, President & CEO of the Vinyl Institute. “Recognizing him as the 2016 Roy T. Gottesman Leadership award honoree was our way of thanking him for his work and dedication to our industry.”

Of the many contributions Dr. Starnes has made to the vinyl industry, he is known for inventing the Ester Thiol stabilization technology for PVC, which eliminates the need for stabilizers containing metals; the technology has been licensed for commercialization in the US and overseas.

He also invented the reductive dechlorination method for determining the molecular microstructures of PVC and other chlorinated polymers – this method is still the standard approach throughout the world.

By identifying principal structural defects in PVC molecules and understanding their mechanisms of formation, he established the principal mechanism for chain transfer to the monomer during vinyl chloride polymerization.

Over the course of his career, his research has been supported by 22 governmental and private agencies. His research has led to some 530 publications, patents, and presentations that have included guest lectures in 19 countries on 5 continents.

He has served on scientific committees or in alternative administrative capacities for many national and international meetings, and he has consulted for 47 private and governmental organizations, both domestically and abroad. He has organized and taught several intensive short courses on chlorinated polymers in North America and overseas and was a Distinguished Visiting Professor for the USSR Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Beijing Institute of Technology.

From 1998 to 2014, he was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vinyl and Additive Technology, which cumulatively published 4,200 pages of peer-reviewed scientific articles during his tenure.  This journal is the “bible” for vinyl technology and is sought after by vinyl scientists across the world as their premier route to publication of their work.