A better mousetrap? a new look at some old issues
Albert van Reenen was born in Stellenbosch in 1957. He obtained both his MSc (1985) and PhD (1988) in polymer science at Stellenbosch University. He joined Stellenbosch University as a researcher at the Institute for Polymer Science in 1989 and was subsequently appointed as senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry. From his early research, which focused on polymeric membranes for waste water treatment, an interest in understanding the fundamental relationship between polymer microstructure and macroscopic material properties developed. Coupled with a long-standing collaboration with local industry, Prof van Reenen’s research has been primarily focused on the structure-property relationship in commercially important thermoplastics, in particular the polyolefins. Related to this are research projects that encompass wood-polymer composites, polyolefin nanocomposites, and the study of solution crystallisation of polymers. A new focus area that is being developed at present is the use of bioactive polymers or polymer systems in packaging applications. The collaboration with industry has also allowed him to leverage substantial funds for the purchase of analytical equipment that is essential for successful research. Professor Van Reenen has a keen interest in furthering polymer science education in Southern Africa and through a collaborative effort with colleagues regularly presents short courses and workshops in both academia and for local industry.