Kenneth W. Doak - Hall of Fame Entry
Author: Plastics Academy Staff
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Kenneth W. Doak
Contributed to the plastics industry by sustained activity from the very earliest commercial development. Conducted fundamental research on vinyl polymerization with Dr. F. R. Mayo at Uniroyal and on the structural properties of polymers. Later emphasized the use of fundamental polymer science in developing improved processes for manufacturing polymers.
Dr. Doak's work resulted in the commercialization of a number of processes and products:
Multiperoxide, multizone tubular process for high-pressure polyethylene. This process is widely used by the polyethylene industry throughout the world.
Two stage liquid/gas phases for manufacturing so-called block copolymers of propylene and ethylene. This was the first commercial processing the U.S. for making these block copolymers, and the first gas-phase process for manufacturing a polyolefin (excluding high-pressure polyethylene).
Commercial product line for Dylark, the copolymers of styrene and maleic anhydride.
Dr. Doak received his A.B. in chemistry in 1938 at Central College in Missouri and his PhD in physical-organic chemistry in 1942 from Johns Hopkins University. He has over 40 years of industrial experience in conducting and managing polymer research and development, with emphasis on polyolefins, styrene polymers, and elastomers. He has served in various research capacities with and has had numerous patents issued to ARCO Polymers, Koppers Co., Dart Industries, and Uniroyal.
Since retiring from ARCO Chemical Co. in 1981, he has consulted in the areas of polyolefins (both polyethylene and polypropylene) and styrene copolymers. He has also conducted independent research studies on polyblends containing rubber-modified polymers, resulting in four additional patents being issued.
In June of 1986, the Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering included his extensive article on "High Pressure Polyethylene."
He currently resides with his wife in Murrysville, PA.