Professor Chul Park (MIE) has been named a University of Toronto Distinguished Professor, an honour that recognizes individuals with outstanding career achievements and promise.
Awarded by the U of T Office of the Vice-President and Provost, Park will hold the title of Distinguished Professor of Microcellular Engineered Plastics for a five-year term, beginning July 1, 2015. He will be one of only 20 U of T faculty members, and four Engineering professors, that will actively hold this distinction.
Park is founder and director of the Microcellular Plastics Manufacturing Laboratory (MPML), one of the world’s leading research centres in the refining of plastics foaming technology. Foamed plastics allow manufacturers to create products that can be lighter, more durable and better insulated, but with less raw materials. They’re increasingly used in packaging, upholstery, thermal insulation, building panels, toys and more.
Founded in 2013, the MPML is a commercialization centre for Park’s innovative microcellular technology. He and his team collaborate extensively with partners from the public and private sectors, focusing on advancing scientific discovery, accelerating technology transfer and training younger engineers.
Park also leads both the Consortium for Cellular and Microcellular Plastics, which currently has about 20 member companies, as well as the NSERC Network for Innovative Plastic Materials and Manufacturing Processes, which involves 20 professors from 11 universities.
“On behalf of the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, I would like to congratulate Professor Chul Park on this prestigious recognition,” said Jean Zu, chair of MIE. “This honour—one of the highest distinctions U of T can convey —is yet another example of the high level of excellence at MIE.”
Park has an international reputation as a leader in the development of innovative and industrially viable technologies for the manufacture of microcellular foamed plastics that have superior mechanical and insulation properties. He is the author or co-author of over 900 publications, including two books, 240 journal papers and 560 conference papers, and holds 30+ patents.
Technology he developed has been licensed by hundreds of companies, and his research has had a major impact on industry. Most notably, it has allowed various metallic components to be replaced by plastic ones, reducing production and operational costs and allowing for lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
His research also played a major role in replacing environmentally hazardous HCFC-based blowing agents with inert-gas based blowing agents.
Park has received approximately 30 major awards and honours over the course of his career. He is a fellow of three national academies—the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Korean Academy of Science and Technology—as well as the Engineering Institute of Canada, the Society of Plastics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering.