Public Release: 

Springfield, Mass., researcher receives award for combating terrorism with chemistry

American Chemical Society

James R. Moran of Solutia Inc. in Springfield, Mass., will be recognized Sunday, August 18, by the world's largest scientific society for his work in developing and commercializing a glass interlayer that offers enhanced protection from falling and flying glass during bomb explosions, automobile accidents, and storms.

Moran will be honored as a Hero of Chemistry at the American Chemical Society's 224th national meeting in Boston, along with chemists and chemical engineers from DSM N.V. and DuPont. Retired U.S. Air Force General Brent Scowcroft will speak at the event about what it means to be a hero in today's changing world.

"These chemical innovators have significantly contributed to the protection and security of our world with commercial technologies that detect, prevent, alleviate or remediate threats to our health and safety," said Eli Pearce, president of the American Chemical Society. "The chemical advances made by these men and women serve as testimonials to the valuable role chemists and chemical engineers play in improving our lives. It is with pride that the Society recognizes them as Heroes of Chemistry."

Windows are typically the weakest portion of a building and are the first to break in an explosion. According to the Accountability Review Board report on the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and East Africa, most people were killed or injured by flying glass shards and other debris. In the Oklahoma City bombing, the leading cause of injury was flying glass.

Moran has developed a laminated safety glass formed by bonding a tough Saflex® IIIG polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayer between two pieces of glass. During a bomb explosion, the shock wave may crack the glass itself, but the fragments stick to the plastic interlayer and the pane stays within its frame. Laminated glass also helps to deflect the explosion, absorbing the blast pressure and some of the energy generated by the blast.

The Heroes of Chemistry program, started in 1996, honors industrial chemists and chemical engineers who create commercially successful products that improve the quality of life. The theme of the awards changes annually; this year, the program recognizes technologies that protect and secure our world.


James R. Moran is a fellow at Solutia Inc. in Springfield, Mass. He received a B.S. in chemical engineering from the City College of New York in 1968. He resides in Longmeadow, Mass.

Click here to see ACS Heroes of Chemistry Program:

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