To offer a drop-in solution to overcome the PA66 shortage, we developed an alternative material: The Akulon® IG series is a portfolio of material grades made by combining the strength of PA6 and PA46 – two materials that are fully independent of the Adiponitrile/hexamethyldiamine supply.
People of DSM Engineering Plastics: Juliana Bernalostos-Boy
We recently sat down with Juliana Bernalostos-Boy, R&T manager for DSM Engineering Plastics, to learn more about her role at DSM and her efforts to turn her vision of the North American Research &Technology Center, in Troy, Michigan, into a reality.
Tell us a little bit about what you do at DSM.
I’ve been working for DSM for a little over five years now. I started out as a scientist at the company’s Geleen, Netherlands, location, and was in this role for about two years.
That was a great opportunity to see how we apply our Bright Science across all our materials businesses. While there, I worked on projects for DSM Biomedical, DSM Coating Resins, and DSM Engineering Plastics. Then I had the opportunity to move to Troy, Michigan, to lead the creation of our Tech Center. I was in the role of Tech Center manager for a year, and I’ve been in my current role as North American R&T manager since 2017. This year I also took on more responsibilities as market development manager for ForTii.
What has been the best part of overseeing the North American R&T Center?
When DSM decided to create a Tech Center here, in Troy, I was given the responsibility to decide what its capabilities would be, what it would look like, what test equipment to purchase, and so on. I started out with a blank canvas—to see the R&T Center start out as a vague concept on PowerPoint and become a reality was really cool. I love walking into our Tech Center knowing that I was part of creating this state-of-the-art facility. I have also really enjoyed building the team for the Tech Center. From figuring how and what profile we were looking for, to creating an interview process, and then seeing the team grow has been immensely rewarding.
Juliana Bernalostos-Boy (pictured right) gives visitors a tour of the North American R&T Center, in Troy, Michigan.
What is the best part of working in DSM Engineering Plastics?
I’m extremely grateful to have had the unique opportunity to be given a blank canvas and full support to develop a vision and turn it into a reality. Also, I’m proud of the wonderful R&D team we’ve created in the last three years!
In 2017 you were one of Crain’s Detroit Business’s 40 Under 40 honorees. In the Crain’s article, it mentions that learning from nature initially drew you to study materials science. Can you explain how applying properties found in nature was an inspiration for you?
In college I took a biomaterials course and started to learn about research being done on bio-inspired materials, which intrigued me. For example, spiders make webs out of spider silk and both the webs and the silk have amazing properties that we can learn from. What’s even more amazing is that they create these materials without using the industrial processes and chemicals that we use to create, for example, steel. There’s tons that we can learn about materials, processing, and design by studying nature!
Have you been involved in any type of educational outreach efforts to expose young children and teenagers to materials science?
During my PhD program at University of California Santa Barbara, I did some outreach activities going to schools to talk to students about materials science. I would use examples of products we all are familiar with and use every day; for example, cell phones. By pulling out my cell phone and talking about all the cool materials that go into making it, the kids became conscious of how materials play an important role in their everyday lives. Hopefully this gets them to start thinking about all the materials that enable us to live the lives we do today. I even found that the parents at these outreach activities were very interested in knowing more about the materials that impact their lives.
Also, for about five years, I mentored First Robotics Competition teams in Santa Barbara and Michigan. This type of competition is a great way to expose kids to science and engineering by working on hands-on engineering projects in an extremely supportive environment.
Two-wheeler technical know-how: DSM’s materials provide the strength and durability that electric scooters need
A number of e-scooter components require specialized materials to ensure safe and reliable performance. DSM’s portfolio includes materials designed to meet the specific needs of these applications.
Building a more sustainable high-performance tire
DSM's Arnitel family of thermoplastic elastomers is helping tire manufacturers "reinvent the wheel" by developing non-pneumatic tires.