Hergenrother is named first Bridgestone Firestone research fellow

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Dr. William L. Hergenrother has been promoted to the newly created position of research fellow by Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology (BACRT) effective Oct. 1, 2008.

In this new role, Hergenrother will continue advising BACRT management on strategic technical issues. He also will continue serving as both an internal technical resource for all BACRT projects and a technical resource for all parts of Bridgestone Corp.

This achievement recognizes Hergenrother’s 45 years of contributions to Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT). He joined Firestone Central Research in 1963, at what was then The Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., after obtaining his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from The University of Notre Dame.

“Bill shows enormous achievement and plays an invaluable role in our business,” says Shunji Araki, director of BACRT. “Bill has won three CEO awards, two in the past five years, and many key polymers have been implemented as a result of his innovative thinking and teamwork with his colleagues. He should be very proud of his achievements, and we all look forward to his continued success.”

Hergenrother has been a pioneer in the area of functionalized polymers, a technology that allows polymers to attach to carbon black or silica particles used in the tire compound. This attachment improves tire wear and rolling resistance, leading to tires that last longer and get improved gas mileage. He is also well known for his efforts regarding functional additives and their improvement of tire properties.

Other areas in which Hergenrother has worked include: plastics and thermosets, high-impact nylon materials, polyphosphazenes, run-flat tire sidewall formulations, cure systems for self-sealing tires, asphalt modification technology, and pioneering measurements of crosslink density in cured rubber systems.

Hergenrother has been a named inventor on 989 patent applications worldwide, 269 U.S. applications and 170 U.S.-issued patents. His contributions in the area of intellectual property were recognized with the Bridgestone Leadership in Innovation award in 2002.

He has authored or co-authored 38 scientific publications and articles. In 2006, a presentation co-authored by him and three other BACRT scientists received the Best Paper award out of 109 papers presented at the American Chemical Society Rubber Division meeting.

Hergenrother’s contributions are also widely recognized by colleagues at Bridgestone Technical Center in Tokyo. “We are thankful to Bill, not only is he an extraordinary inventor and mentor but he brings an endless curiosity to his work and has a wealth of knowledge about the chemical properties of rubber and tire performance, “ says Tatsuro Hamada, director of Tire Materials Development Division, Bridgestone Corp. “Bill gets great joy out of solving technological problems which is inspiring to our entire research team,” Hamada concludes.

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