TARRC Scientists receive honours
Dr Tinker & Dr Gelling of TARRC receive Malaysian honours

Two scientists from the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC), the UK laboratory of the Malaysian Rubber Board, have been awarded two of Malaysia’s highest awards for service to the nation.

These awards are bestowed by the King of Malaysia (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) on his official birthday to those who have distinguished themselves for the nation or the country as a whole. It is an especial privilege for foreigners to receive these awards.

Dr Tinker & Dr Gelling with their awardsDr Andrew Tinker, Director of Reseach, was awarded the Johan Setia Mahkota (JSM) (Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Crown) for his scientific contribution and long-standing service to the rubber industry in Malaysia. He joined TARRC in 1974 and initially worked on controlled graft copolymers of natural rubber, and later epoxidised natural rubber, as thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). Work followed on blends of natural rubber with polyolefins, and dynamically vulcanised TPEs. He was responsible for the initial commercialisation of these materials through licence agreements with companies in the UK and USA. Further work involved the development of the swollen-state NMR spectroscopy technique for the investigation of crosslink density in the individual phases of a rubber blend and using it to explain their behaviour. He also developed the ‘network visualisation’ microscopy technique and applied it not only to the investigation of crosslinking and the interface in blends, but subsequently also to diverse topics from rubber-filler interaction to crosslinking in latex products. Developments in control of crosslink density distribution began to lead to improved performance of rubber blends and a three year programme funded by the Common Fund for Commodities was commenced in 1990 headed by Dr Tinker as Project Team Leader. The project was titled ‘Development of Blends of Natural Rubber with Speciality Elastomers’ and one of the major advances in this programme was the development of modification of rubbers with readily available sulphur donors by reactive mixing during the normal masterbatch mixing process. This technology has been transferred to the Malaysian manufacturing industry.

Continued development of TPENR has produced a TPE of unparalleled oil resistance, heat resistance and cost effectiveness. TPENR is now commercialised by a joint venture company EK Polymers Sdn Bhd. Dr Tinker headed the Exploratory Chemistry and Technology Group for eight years and was appointed Head of the Research & Development Group in 1998 and took responsibility for the research-oriented activities of TARRC and about half of the technical staff. He took up his present position as Director of Research in 1999. Dr Tinker is the author of over 70 technical papers, the co-editor of one book and co-inventor on four patents.

Dr Ian Gelling was awarded the Kesatria Mangku Negara (KMN) (Officer of the Most Distinguished Order of the Defender of the Realm) for his contribution to the development of the Malaysian rubber industry. Dr Gelling joined TARRC in 1970 as an organic research chemist and one of his major successes during his time at TARRC was his work in the field of chemical modification of natural rubber which led to the discovery of epoxidised natural rubber (ENR). He also developed and patented a successful commercial production procedure and unit and helped to develop markets for this material. Dr Gelling became Group Leader of the Dry Rubber Technology Group in 1990 and was appointed Group Leader of the Product Support Group in 1998, focussing on assisting Malaysian rubber product manufacturers establishing export markets in the West through market intelligence, production technologies and after sales services. Now working in a Consultancy position at TARRC, Dr Gelling currently acts as the administrator for TARRC's consultancy arm Rubber Consultants. He is the author of over 50 scientific papers and has contributed chapters to a number of scientific books.

Drs Tinker and Gelling were accompanied by their wives and other TARRC staff at the conferment of the awards at the Malaysian High Commission, Belgrade Square, London on 8th September. The presentation of the awards was carried out by HE Dato’ Abd. Aziz Mohammed, High Commissioner of Malaysia.

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© Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre 2005
Wednesday 8th September, 2004