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Carl Shipp Marvel

Carl Shipp "Speed" Marvel (1894–1988) was an American polymer chemist who worked at developing polybenzimidazoles, which are temperature-resistant polymers that are used in the aerospace industry and as a replacement for asbestos.

He obtained the nickname "Speed" early on in his career as a chemist from his habit of rushing to breakfast after studying all night when he was a graduate student at the University of Illinois. However, his studies were interrupted by World War I and during the war he worked under Professor Roger Adams in a lab set up at the university to make fine chemicals that had, until then, been imported from Germany, which at the time was the centre of fine chemical production.
Also at this time Marvel became a close associate of Wallace Carothers, who was a fellow student at Illinois, and whom he later worked with as a consultant for DuPont when Carothers was carrying out his groundbreaking work on nylon and step-growth polymerization.
Marvel's early research was in classical organic chemistry, but he soon moved into polymer chemistry for which he is best known. He showed that vinyl monomers tend to add to the growing polymer in a head-to-head fashion and his work on the low-temperature copolymerization of butadiene and styrene was important to the commercial production of synthetic rubber. This meant that he participated heavily in the U.S. synthetic rubber program when supplies of natural rubber were disrupted during World War II.
His went on to develop high temperature polymers. He made these by incorporating rigid ring structures into the backbone, as in polyimides, polybenzimidazoles and ladder polymers. Almost no area of polymer chemistry escaped his interest, either at Illinois (from graduate school days until 1961), or at Arizona.
Marvel received many honors, including the first ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry in 1964. An avid birdwatcher, his over 500 publications include one entitled "Unusual Feeding Habits of the Cape May Warbler".

  1. MY SIXTY-FIVE YEARS OF CHEMISTRY - a lecture by Marvel
  2. A Portrait and short biography of Marvel
  3. Biography of Marvel
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Carl_Shipp_Marvel". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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