Speaker Bio

Rudy Koopmans

Rudy Koopmans is an R&D Fellow at Dow Europe GmbH, and resides in Horgen, Switzerland. He holds a PhD in Physical & Macromolecular Chemistry from Antwerp University (Belgium), and a Business Administration Master of Leuven University (Belgium). During his 31 years at Dow he held various R&D roles at several Dow locations in Europe and USA, covering topics on physics, processing, and application design of thermoplastics, thermosets, and bio- and bio-inspired materials. His R&D focus is on the identification, development and implementation of innovative material technologies in which rheology plays a preeminent role as a multi-disciplinary scientific discipline. Throughout his career an essential passion has been to drive the advancement of rheology for exploiting the understanding of structure-property-performance relationships and capturing the science in modeling tools. Directing, executing, facilitating, leveraging, networking and supporting efforts in rheology and plastics processing have and are his hallmarks of making an impact and being an inspiration for many.
He holds visiting professorships at ETH Zürich (CH) and Leeds University (UK). In 2004 he received the Staudinger-Dürer Medal for excellence in Materials Science at the ETH Zürich (Switzerland). He has published more than 70 papers in international journals, contributed multiple book chapters, wrote two books - one on Self Assembling Peptides and one on Polymer Melt Fracture -, and is holder of multiple patents in the field of materials design and polymer processing.

Title: Rethinking Plastics as Materials: Opportunities for innovation.


Today plastics as materials define how society operates - in ways difficult to imagine and in very visible, highly criticized ways. More than 150 years ago, plastics emerged out of a drive to replace “natural” products, considered of finite availability (e.g. ivory, lacquers), and eventually became extremely successful synthetic materials by virtue of cheap petroleum as feedstock and a booming chemical industry after the 1950’s. At the beginning of the 21st century scenario’s on limits to growth and a societal drive for more sustainable products make it however particularly important to rethink the production and use of synthetic materials such as plastics. The time has come to reconsider plastics and see them not as “extremely simplified” versions of natural “plastics” but as a next generation of adaptive functional materials mirrored on what nature has achieved with “plastics”. The quo vadis of plastics i.e. polymeric systems, is precisely the taking of chemistry, chemical engineering, and product design to a next level of being more in tune with the functioning of nature.


Dow Europe GmbH
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