Sunday, November 17, 2013

I am now looking for a regular job

I had a great run with Rethink Technologies Inc., but I am now preparing to "pack it in" and go to work for an established company. I now have a baby to support, and I must have a regular income. I have a very unusual assortment of talents, that I can deliver for an employer. I am a great formulator, with really diverse experience.

In addition, I have pre-existing inventions I am willing to bring into employment, and if employed, I will assign an idea that I've been paid to develop further over to my employer, under certain conditions. I have posted a list of available inventions elsewhere on this blog. I want to specifically call attention to these polymer-related inventions:

  • If you make floatation modules or radomes from syntactic foam, my reaction wave polymerization invention is especially important, because the reaction wave can penetrate clear through a thick buoyancy module or radome, curing the matrix-phase polymer as it propagates. This is lower cost than placing the modules into an autoclave or an oven, as in the prior art. Since the shrinkage is localized in the narrow reaction wave, the volume change due to polymerization shrinkage can be relieved, which allows less expensive monomers to be used.
  • If you are interested in thermoplastic elastomers, I have several inventions of interest to you, starting with an important invention I created in my time at West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (then The West Company). I learned only much later (after these three patents had expired) that West filed for three patents on my work that do not list me as an inventor; the best one of these describes butyl rubber based dynamic vulcanizate thermoplastic elastomers that have been dynamically cured in an SEBS (Kraton G) matrix phase. This patent should list me as the sole inventor but instead it is in the name of Malcolm Smook, our consultant at the time. This is still the best way to make TPE-based vial stoppers, and the patent is long since expired. I could help a company manufacture these TPEs.
  • I have a second TPE that I developed during my time at Rethink Technologies, a classical dynamic vulcanizate thermoplastic elastomer, or "thermoplastic vulcanizate" (TPV). I originally proposed the development of an ETFE fluoroplastic matrix TPV, with FKM as the curing elastomer phase to Daikin's Dai-Act program in 2001; they chose not to back it. But three years later, I was asked to consult on the project, started long before (but not, I think, before 2001): Daikin's ETFE/FKM dynamic vulcanizate! I was flabbergasted, but I made a deal to work on the project. There were two teams, one in Osaka, the other in the Rethink lab, in New York. We got dramatically better results than the Osaka team, but I fell out of favor when I refused to let them file a patent without my name on it. I did file the patent as assigned to Daikin (no problem), but they had a problem with an American inventor. Daikin abandoned the patent in mid-prosecution, but it was still published. I created an ETFE-matrix TPV (30% ETFE) with crosslinked FKM particles. The product passed many fuel swelling and permeation specifications, with elongation 230% and 2200 psi tensile strength...ideal for O-ring cord and peristaltic tubing for chemicals.
  • Reactive polymer processing: I have experience with  elastomer graft modification, including a method to economically make maleic anhydride grafted butyl rubber (IIR). The dual ionomeric/conventional vulcanizate from this material combines high strength with low durometer to an unprecedented extent for a butyl elastomer. I called this material maleated butyl rubber (MIIR), and tried to raise money to manufacture it after I left Monsanto Rubber Chemicals, where I developed it (I got an official release of the technology from Monsanto). MIIR was reported in part in an ACS Rubber Division paper in 1989, with David Russell of ARDL (Akron Rubber Development Lab). 
  • Rubber grinding to particle sizes below 40 microns: I understand wet grinding of rubber inside out. As Technical Director of Erickson Materials, I learned this from the true inventor: Jim Rine, who was our consultant. He taught others hiow to do it as well, including Michael Rouse, founder of Rouse Rubber. This technology had a bright future, but was set back in a big way by an explosion of rubber dust and a fire that killed several people at Rouse Rubber's Vicksburg factory. Mike Rouse's daughter still wet grinds FKM scrap, and I stand ready (either as a consultant or an employee) to help you implement this elegant and effective technology.
  • Incorporation of graphene and graphene precursors into polymers for reduced permeability: I showed in a Phase 1 SBIR for the Navy in 2008 that I could reduce the sea water permeability of butyl rubber by more than an order of magnitude by using expanded graphite (a graphene precursor). I even got that compound to stick to NBR. Later, I showed that the same trick can also be used to reduce solvent permeation in HNBR.

I am a real expert, but more important, I am a proven problem solver. If you want to hire me as a consultant, hurry up because my job will likely interfere with my ability to consult or write a patent for someone.

I can help you with patents

Rethink Technologies was previously a polymer development lab and a "C" corporation, but since 2011, I have been consulting using the name only (DBA). I can write a great patent application for you, but only under specific conditions. I have several US Patents and patent applications you could read to test my skill. Since I am neither an attorney nor a patent agent, I cannot legally do this as a service; however, if I am a co-inventor, I can write and file the patent and be paid for that; this is the nature of my service.

If you are interested in my services for patent writing, I will sign an NDA with you before we discuss your idea/invention. If I can think of some patentable tweak to your invention, then we can make a deal. In this case, I'll offer to write the patent (including my patentable contribution) & assign my co-inventor rights to you for a fee that I will quote at that time. I will only reveal the patentable tweak that makes it a co-invention if you agree to my proposal. As part of the proposal, I'll assign my co-invention rights to you (as long as you pay the bill). It is much less expensive to have a patent attorney review a patent than it is to have him draft it, and I do recommend that you have such a review before filing a full patent. In the case of a provisional patent (the normal first step), I do not usually recommend having an attorney review it prior to filing.

You can check my recent patent filings by going to this website and search for "IN:(Faulkner, Roger W.)"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR)

I find that Professor Yeong Kim of Perdue has a credible theory to explain the mechanism of low energy nuclear reactions (LENR). Such reactions are absolutely not a violation of thermodynamics, but for them to work at low temperatures, some alternative to brute force for squishing the nuclei together (which implies high velocity to overcome coulombic repulsion) must be found. I find Professor Kim's concept that hydrogen dissolved in a metal may form Bose-Einstein condensates (which are delocalized and can in effect allow a proton or deuteron to tunnel through the coulombic barrier) to be compelling. I am posting Professor Kim's presentation to an LENR workshop in Siena for those who find this intriguing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Inventions which are for sale

Examples of technologies in which I hold proprietary and/or patentable information:
  • Pressure-certified microballoons to enable stronger syntactic foam
  • Advanced syntactics with higher strength/density ratio
  • wood-like composites with good nail-ability and low creep rate
  • advanced VIP (vacuum insulated panel) cores
  • Dynamic vulcanizates (DVs), including thermoplastic elastomers 
  • rubber-rubber dynamic vulcanizates with low die-swell, and high green strength which vulcanize to low fatigue elastomers suitable for peristaltic tubing
  • elastomer cure system components
  • Reactive polymer processing, including elastomer graft modification 
    • Specifically, I know how to economically make maleic anhydride grafted butyl rubber (IIR)
  • carpet recycling
  • Rubber grinding to particle sizes below 40 microns
  • nanocomposites, especially for electrical insulation, permeation resistance, or electrical conductivity.
I would be willing to discuss any of these inventions under NDA.

Custom Lab Services Offered

I have an ongoing relationship with several independent labs: where I can still pursue polymer projects as PI (principal Investigator) on my own, via consulting, or if the project calls for for lab services, I have relationships with several independent labs, including Associated Polymer Labs (polymer composites), and also with Neo-Advent Technologies, Inc. for projects requiring chemical synthesis.
Between these two labs, I can deliver various analytical services, including:
  1. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), including modulated mode measurement of thermal diffusivity
  2. TGA (thermogravimetric analysis)
  3. Fourrier transform IR (infrared) spectroscopy
  4. UV/Visible spectroscopy
  5. HPLC (high pressure liquid chromatography)
  6. Ion beam sputtering based mass spec
  7. GC (gas chromatography) with mass spectrometry detector
  8. Mechanical spectrometer (Rheometrics) with temperature sweep
Both APL and Neo-Advent have great instrumentation; I can access the testing capabilities of both labs for any project where I am PI, and I can arrange testing at the same rate they would quote if you called them directly. And, if you buy the testing through me, I'll give you some expert help; not just interpreting the data, but helping you solve your underlying problem. If it turns into a research project, I am available to be Principle Investigator on polymer R&D topics using the facilities of these independent laboratories 

Here is my polymer-focused resume.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rethink Technologies, Inc. (MA C-corp) is Closing up Shop

I have managed to stay alive since 2004 operating as Rethink Technologies, a Massachusetts Company I formed with financing from Dick Mastromatteo, a serial entrepreneur who made money on a few of his startups (Cri-Tech and Ixion), but lost money on many other investments, sadly including my company as well. I now have no option but to liquidate Rethink Technologies, Inc. of MA. I am looking for a job.

link to my polymer-focused resume:

I am also offering this longer CV that includes all my publications:

I am still able to do custom research for clients. If the work does not require laboratory access (such as writing a patent, or developing an IP position), you can deal with me as an individual consultant (email me at <>). I also have a deal to work as a PI (principle investigator) for Associated Polymer Labs, using their lab facilities and technicians, where that fits. If you have a project in mind where my talent and knowledge would be very useful, but there needs to be a lab component to the project too, you should speak with Jim Zwynenburg <> at Associated Polymer Labs (; any development project in which I use Associated Polymer Labs equipment will be contracted through them. Examples of projects that I have previously proposed which are still very promising include these:
  • Pressure-certified microballoons;
  • Advanced syntactics
  • wood-like composites with good nail-ability and low creep rate
  • advanced VIP panel cores
  • fluoropolymer-based rubber & plastic blends, including both thermoplastic elastomer rubber-plastic dynamic vulcanizates and low die-swell, high green strength rubber-rubber dynamic vulcanizates;
  • elastomer cure system development
  • Reactive polymer processing, including approaches based on internal mixers, extruders, and polymerization of liquids (such as especially reaction wave polymerization)
  • nanocomposites, especially for electrical insulation, permeation resistance, or electrical conductivity.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rethink Technologies History

Rethink Technologies, Inc. was a small and capable research company that was in effect Roger Faulkner IP Development, Inc.  I had several great employees over the years, including Jim Reilly, Steve George, and Ken Mumby especially, all of whom were full time for more than a year. Ken was my most recent full time employee, and by the time he left in 2009, he was a qualified research scientist, and had become familiar with computer interfacing equipment. Robert Karnes worked with me on several SBIR grant applications as my Principal Engineer, until he got a full time job in March. I had to pull the plug eventually, since I was not bringing in enough business.

I founded Rethink, Inc. as a MA corporation initially in 1998, with Ian MacKenzie as my first partner (Ian thought of the name "Rethink" for the company); my efforts to raise money to develop “RoadTread” based on recycled rubber was the first activity under the Rethink, Inc. banner. I was Technical Director at that time for Erickson Materials, a startup that was producing fine ground rubber at that time. I conceived RoadTread while I worked for Erickson, then tried to make a deal to produce it after I moved over to Cri-Tech, at the time Erickson Materials’ biggest customer.  My moonlighting efforts to pursue RoadTread were unsuccessful, but I kept trying. After I left Ericson Materials, I also sought funding for a novel wet grinding process for elastomers to enable an order of magnitude reduction in the particle size of the ground rubber, but never managed to raise money for that (still available if you are interested).

I pursued my first US patent 6,197,438 on “Ceramic Foodware Coatings,” while employed by Immix Technologies (at that time, the parent company of Cri-Tech). This was with the full knowledge of Immix; this patent has been cited by 11 other US patents, and I made a little money in a deal with All-Clad at the time; I missed out on royalties on the “Gold Standard™” line of bakeware that All-Clad introduced out of our work because a patent by a Japanese company narrowed my allowed claims so much that what All-Clad actually did, did not read on my claims. All part of a valuable learning experience though. I had a special deal with Immix that gave me a 1% royalty on my patentable inventions, and we agreed on a list of prior inventions I had prior to working for Immix that I was free to pursue on my own time. I still see that agreement as a model of fairness.

My next three US patents are assigned to Cri-Tech; US patent 6,486,247 concerns “Scorch inhibitors for bisphenol-cured fluoroelastomers,” and gives formulators of bisphenol-cured FKM a second way to control scorch not mentioned in the Dyneon’s prior US patent 5,756,588 (it was important for Cri-Tech to have a way to control scorch without relying on the Dyneon patent). 
US patent 6,538,069 describes “Polymer blends of PVDF thermoplastics blended with FKM
Fluoroelastomers,” and covers especially permeation resistant elastoplastic blends for fuel lines; this patent was useful for a while, but tightening fuel emission regulations soon forced all fuel line manufacturers to either use stainless steel tubing or multilayer tubing that includes an extremely permeation resistant fluoropolymer layer such as PTFE (Teflon™ for example; very difficult to process by extrusion), or the more readily extruded fluoroplastics PFA, FEP, ETFE, or THV. There are many patents out on versions of this concept. The material I developed was an order of magnitude lower permeability than high fluorine FKM, but still about 10-1000 times more permeable than the fluoroplastics, so it lost its market share in automotive hoses (it may still be used in hoses for small engines). 

US patent 6,737,479, on “Dynamically Cured Fluoroelastomer Blends” covers the “FKX” product line of Cri-Tech; these are fluoroelastomers that can be cured at atmospheric pressure without blistering. (This means they can be cured in a molten salt bath or an infrared tunnel, for example.)

While I worked for Immix most, but not all of my duties related to Cri-Tech. Immix at the time had two other divisions, Cri-Sil and New Era Materials. I had a little involvement in Cri-Sil projects, and a lot of involvement with New Era Materials, where I was also Director of Research for a while. New Era Materials was a specialty compounder of plastics focused on thermoplastic matrix syntactic foam (for insulating oil pipelines under the sea), electrically conductive fluoroplastics, and thermally conductive LCP composites for low cost computer heat sinks.

I was laid off by Cri-Tech at the end of 2002 as a result of the economic contraction after 9/11/2001. I continued to work 4-5 days a month for Cri-Tech through 2003. Rethink, Inc. had transitioned to being an Ohio C-corporation in 2000. My first consulting contract (other than Cri-Tech) was with DuPont Tyvek group, and I also began to work with Jim Reilly, my best buddy from grad school at Akron University. (Tyvek is manufactured by Flash spinning, which involves the rapid decompression of a solution containing high polymer and a spinning agent, through a nozzle/disperser system; see for example US patents 3081519, 3169899, 3227784, 3227794, 3456156, 3497918, 3549453, 3860869, 5032326, 5147586, 5250237, 6153134, and 6218460.) Coming out of this consulting, I have definite concepts that could extend flash spinning to other polymers, such as PVDF, for which I never found a sponsor or partner. (If this fits your research goal, please make contact; otherwise this invention will stay in the deep freeze.)

Jim Reilly and I wrote several proposals during 2003 that had to do with advanced syntactics (combinations of glass or ceramic microballoons with a polymeric or metallic matrix phase), including a seminal (but unsuccessful) application for DARPA funding to pursue aluminum-matrix syntactics in conjunction with Joseph Blucher of  Northeastern University, who had done pioneering research in this area. That DARPA application still informs some of the work on advanced syntactics that Rethink still pursues today. We also pursued research with NFM Welding Engineers: Jim and I co-authored a paper on NFC syntactics (natural fiber composites that also contain glass microballoons) at the ANTEC 2004 plastics show with Jim Hagberg, Technical VP of NFM Welding Engineers.

Rethink Technologies, Inc. was formed in May 2004 to create a clean slate for Dick Mastromatteo to invest in my concept of creating Kevlar polyaramid pulp dispersions (“Fibersperse”) in elastomers using a unique high shear mixer. I had laid the groundwork for this project in 2003 by supplying samples of Kevlar pulp dispersions in FKM to DuPont Advanced Elastomer Systems. Dick invested because DuPont expressed interest. We were very close to a deal with DuPont Engineered Elastomers to supply Kevlar pulp dispersions (“Fibersperse”) in elastomers that their process (which is latex-based) had a problem making, such as FKM, EPDM, HNBR, and IIR (butyl rubber); unfortunately the war in Iraq placed all supplies of Kevlar on military consignment, and we could not get an allotment. This killed the deal with DuPont.

We then turned our attention to nanoclay dispersions and composites, and I co-authored a paper with Carl McAfee at the 2005 ACS Rubber Division show on nanoclay dispersions; we showed that we could achieve significant (though partial) exfoliation of nanoclays in masterbatches that had been treated at high shear rate. (We tried to sell these to the rubber industry as “Nanosperse,” and applied for “Nanosperse”  as a trademark, but it went to another company.) We had some success, but sales were slow, and Dick Mastromatteo ran out of patience before we got to profitability.

At the beginning of 2007, Dick Mastromatteo and I split the assets of Rethink Technologies; Dick got the pilot plant we had built and the IP on Fibersperse and Nanosperse; I got the lab which was then in Manlius, NY in Jim Reilly’s barn. I managed to keep Jim as an employee for a while with consulting work with Daikin America (which by this point had bought Cri-tech from Dick Mastromatteo), but in the end I had to lay him off. During this period, Jim and I did the research that lead to two patent applications for Daikin: US patent applications 2007/0179248 on high elongation FKM, and 2008/0032080 on ETFE/FKM thermoplastic vulcanizates (TPVs), both of which Daikin has now abandoned. Since these inventions have now lapsed into the public domain, I am prepared to help clients for consulting fees only to re-create these products.

While Jim and I worked together we began projects that I am still pursuing in advanced syntactics. Besides the previously mentioned DARPA white paper from 2003, and the ANTEC paper that Jim and I co-authored in 2004 on NFC syntactics, we also applied for Navy STTR N04-T015 with Professors David Brown & Yong Kim of the Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Center/ U Mass Dartmouth, and Rob Karnes of Globe Rubber. 

We then turned our attention to nanoclay dispersions and composites, and I co-authored a paper with Carl McAfee at the 2005 ACS Rubber Division show (***link to paper); we showed that we could achieve significant (though partial) exfoliation of nanoclays in masterbatches that had been treated at high shear rate. (We tried to sell these to the rubber industry as “Nanosperse,” and applied for “Nanosperse”  as a trademark, but it went to another company.) We had some success, but sales were slow, and Dick Mastromatteo ran out of patience before we got to profitability.

I also applied for  Navy STTR N09-T032 for a similar concept of using advanced syntactic materials for absorbing blast energy, with Professors Sam Kiger and Hani Salim of the University of Misssouri, working with Ken Mumby.  Jim and I began work on classification and pressure certification of glass microballoons, as well as design of a microballoon characterization device based on the acoustic emissions that are emitted when glass microballoons collapse in a liquid under hydrostatic pressure in 2004. Jim has carried on with the instrumentation research as part of our separation agreement, and Rethink is still looking for an opportunity to pursue advanced syntactics that use pressure certified microballoons. (Rob Karnes and I recenly  have applied for three more recent SBIRs in this general area of advanced syntactics.)

In September of 2007 my dear friend Colin Felton was instrumental in orchestrating a move of the lab to its current location in Cambridge, NY. Colin and I pursued the Fibersperse technology again with DuPont, but by then DuPont already had other options, and we failed to make a deal. Soon after that, we lost our Daikin support, and since then Rethink has gotten by helping small companies with small problems (formulation design, developing marketing literature, polymer development for other company’s SBIRs), and we also got our first Phase 1 SBIR (Navy N08-042) in which we developed a high moisture barrier elastomer for Navy Missile tubes, but unfortunately, we did not progress to Phase 2. Ms Atira did lab work on the Navy SBIR, and has continued as a sort government contract specialist on all our SBIR applications since then. This research lead to two patent applications and three publications:
(***ACS Rubber Division, Energy Rubber Group, and Rubber & Plastics News). 

A substantial customer in 2008 was Hyperion Catalysis, with whom we co-authored both an Energy Rubber Group talk (***), which was delivered by my employee at the time, Ken Mumby. and an ACS Rubber Division paper (***) which I wrote.

Rethink has continued to build on the special expertise we have been developing in advanced composites (including syntactics) with applications for Air Force SBIR AF083C-068, and Navy SBIRs N101-067 and N102-148. In fact, Rob Karnes and I have a currently pending application for funding under Navy SBIR N103-220 to create high strength buoyancy modules for deep submergence based on pressure certified microballoons. And Rob has also applied for funding for research under DARPA SBIR D103-008 for a surface-skimming missile design under Rethink  Technologies, with participation by Bayer Material Sciences and Kazak Composites.

Since November 2008, I have put more than half of my total effort into a spin-out company from Rethink, Electric Pipeline Corporation, which is seeking funding to pursue inventions in the area of polymer insulated rigid conductor-based electric pipelines (elpipes). The site is under construction, but you can access many documents relating to elpipes here<***I will create a directory of files>

I have developed meaningful IP that is described above which is available for development, some of which is described above. For this case, where I have developed IP already, I want to participate in the upside if I deliver a very important process or technology to a client. We also do consulting, and can help companies to develop marketing literature and/or publications that help market products. (Please see our 'Presentations and Proposals' section for documents related to our recent activities; the part of recent activity related to our spin-out, Electric Pipeline Corporation .