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Herman E. Schroeder

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 18, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 3

Herman E. Schroeder, 94, a retired DuPont director of R&D for synthetic rubbers and plastics, died on Nov. 28, 2009, in Greenville, Del.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Schroeder earned an A.B. in 1936, an A.M. in 1937, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1939, all from Harvard University.

After joining DuPont in 1938, Schroeder conducted pioneering research, developing the first practical adhesive for bonding rubber to nylon for B-29 bomber tires, discovering lightfast dyes for cotton, and leading the development of dyes for polyester and acrylic fibers. He served as DuPont’s director of R&D for synthetic rubbers and plastics from 1963 until 1980.

Schroeder contributed to DuPont’s development of numerous products, including Adiprene; Corfam; Lycra; Nordel, the first sulfur-curable ethylene propylene rubber; Hytrel thermoplastic polyether­ester; Viton and Kalrez fluoroelastomers; and Vamac ethylene acrylic elastomer. He held 37 patents and published 40 papers.

He served on advisory groups for numerous organizations and museums. Schroeder was honored by the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers and received the Charles Goodyear Medal from the ACS Rubber Division in 1984. DuPont awarded him the Lavoisier Medal for Inspirational Research Leadership in 1992. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1942.

He is survived by two sons, Edward and Peter; daughter Martha Lewis; seven grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter Nancy.


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