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Murray, Kentucky — A new state-of-the art lab is giving Murray State students a unique opportunity.

In 2014, the polymer and material science track was introduced, which emphasizes the industrial and engineering aspects of chemistry.

Kevin Miller, a professor in the chemistry department, noticed that Murray State already “had a few instruments in place that were necessary to perform research in polymer science.”

Miller previously worked for Dow Chemical Company, where he noticed that the No. 1 employer of chemists were companies that specialize in polymer. He realized Murray State had the potential to create a program unique to the area and Kentucky.

“Over the past five years, Dr. Daniel Johnson and I have developed not only the Polymer and Materials Science Lab, but also a degree track in polymer and materials science,” Miller said.

“We are hoping to attract students who are interested in chemistry and engineering and prepare them for a career in the polymer industry or perhaps a graduate program in chemistry, polymer science or chemical engineering.”

The Polymer and Materials Science Lab was created in fall 2015 in a small space in Jones Hall where the chemistry department could house all its material instruments in one room.

The lab also receives funding from the National Science Foundation. The foundation granted the department the Major Research Instrumentation Grant, which allowed it to purchase a dynamic mechanical analyzer. The instrument is used to analyze the mechanical properties of polymers and materials.

“Ultimately, we have a state-of-the-art facility that rivals industrial-scale materials science labs throughout the country,” Miller said. “To have such capabilities at an undergraduate institution is unheard of.”

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