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Antxon Santamaría

Full Professor of Applied Physics

University of the Basque Country (Spain)

Antxon Santamaría earned his BS and MS in Physics from the University of Navarra and his PhD from the University of the Basque Country in 1980. He joined the University of Tennessee as Research Associate in 1982. He was Vice-dean of the Faculty of Chemistry of San Sebastián from 1987 to 1989 and Director of the Department of Polymer Science and Technology from 1989 to 2009. Since 1992 he is Full Professor of Applied Physics at the University of the Basque Country. He was the President of the Spanish Polymer Group (GEP) from 1997 to 2003 and the President of the Spanish Rheology Group (GER) from 2006 to 2015. His research is focussed on basic and applied rheology of polymers and copolymers, blends and nanocomposites. His work on viscoelastic properties has a double purpose: Characterize materials, e.g. molecular architecture of polymer chains, and solve practical problems linked to processing and elaboration of new materials. He has published 6 books and more than 150 scientific papers, mostly in Q1 journals, and given more than 60 oral communications and 15 invited lectures. He has directed 25 Doctoral Thesis. Approximately 25% of his research has been directly financed by industrial companies.


RHEOLOGY AND POLYMERS: A TALE OF GIVE AND TAKE

The term rheology was coined by Eugene C. Bingham and Marcus Reiner, in Easton Pennsylvania in 1928, in a meeting of engineers, chemists and physicists, which gave birth to the Society of Rheology. Rheology was well accepted from the very beginning, because the founders were able to explain the difference between this new branch of science, devoted to “Fundamental and practical knowledge concerning the deformation or flow of matter” and the already sound “Continuum Mechanics”. In those years, Hermann Staudinger, Professor in Zurich, defended that rubber, starch and cellulose were actually very high molecular substances, face to his colleagues. Surprisingly enough to our current knowledge, the most outstanding chemists of the 1920s resisted to accept the possibility that small molecules or monomers could link together covalently to form high-molecular weight compounds, named polymers. The connection between both newborns, rheology and polymers, came rapidly. Staudinger carried out viscosity measurements of rubber solutions to demonstrate the high molecular weight of polymers and Reiner showed the first evidence of non-Newtonian flow, demonstrating the shear rate dependency of viscosity in polymers. The continuation of this affection history along the last 90 years concerns science and technology stuck to our everyday life.


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