Raymond B. Seymour
July 26, 1912
Nov 15th, 1991
Demonstrated consistent innovation and dedication to both industry and academia during his half-century of service to the plastics industry. His many inventions fostered the development of numerous phases of the industry.
As a research scientist for Goodyear Tire and Rubber in 1937-39, he produced and patented their first synthetic plastic, which was sold under the trade name of Pliovic, and was used as an alternative to Koroseal and Vinylite. As chief chemist for Atlas Minerals in 1939-41, he developed and patented one of the first plastic concretes. This carbon-filled furan composite continues to be sold under the trade name of Alkor. He also developed one of the first interpenetrating network plastics (Alkor-25).
As a group leader for plastics research at Monsanto in 1941-45, he developed and patented amorphous silica-filled thermoplastics that are still used for dentures and other composite applications. He also developed Cadon, one of the first engineering plastics, and one of Monsanto's first high impact polystyrenes (HIPS).
His R&D team at Monsanto developed acrylic fibers (Acrylan). His teams also developed techniques for the production of commercial styrene monomer and polystyrene.
While serving as a Professor and Director of Research at the University of Chattanooga (1945-48), he produced transparent sheets of ionomers of methyl methacrylate and methacrylic acid for the Office of Naval Research and converted the surface of these polymers to salts with improved resistance to abrasion. He also produced nylon-reinforced polyester plastics with superior impact resistance for the Navy.
While serving as Director of Research for Johnson and Johnson (1948-49), he directed the development of plastic body casts, polyvinyl chloride adhesive bandages (Band Aid), and s-ray opaque PVC filaments adhered to surgical sponges (Ray Tex).
As Technical Director and President of Atlas Minerals, 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, PVC tank linings, and composite structures.
He initiated the plastics degree program at Los Angeles Trade Tech College; was head of the College of Science, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Sul Ross University at Alpine, TX, and Associate Director of Research and Professor of Chemistry, as well as Coordinator of Polymer Science, at the University of Houston.
Since retirement from the University of Houston, Dr. Seymour has served as a Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science, without pay, at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Dr. Seymour and his wife Frances lived in Hattiesburg, MS. He was survived by his wife, four children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.