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Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association

Annual R W Thomson Lecture

Date & Time

15 November 2017 7:00pm


the Lindsay Stewart Lecture Theatre of Edinburgh Napier University,
Craiglockhart Campus, Edinburgh EH14 1DJ


  1. The 2017 Lecture will be delivered by Professor Peter Skabara CChem FRSC


Register on Eventbrite

Plastic Fantastic!  A Brief Perspective on Flexible Electronics


Professor Peter Skabara BSc PhD CChem FRSC

Peter Skabara holds the James Young Chair of Chemistry in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde.
Plastics have been around for many decades. They have become ubiquitous in many different forms and they cover an enormous range of functions. We think we know them very well – but do the gadget-minded enthusiasts amongst us truly know what’s out there and what’s around the corner for plastic technologies? A hugely exciting development for polymers has revolutionised the electronics industry through the discovery and application of plastics that can conduct electricity. You’ve no doubt heard of OLED technology (in TVs and smartphones), but do you know what role plastic has in these devices? In the future, can we envisage sheets of plastic lighting up our streets and buildings, replacing energy-wasteful light bulbs forever? Could plastic make WiFi disappear, giving way to a much faster way of transferring data wirelessly? 


The dress for the occasion will be lounge suit. Presidents of IOM3 Affiliated Societies are asked to wear their badges of office.  Name badges will be provided.

Places are limited and applications will be taken on a first come, first served basis.

To attend the lecture, please email Colin Hindle, SPRA Education Officer, School of Engineering & Built Environment, Edinburgh Napier University, Merchiston Campus, Edinburgh, EH10 5DT


Or register on Eventbrite



Robert William Thomson      (1822 – 1873)

Born in Stonehaven Robert William Thomson left school aged 14 and spent 2 years in America before returning to Stonehaven where he taught himself the basics of science and mathematics while redesigning his mother’s mangle, building a ribbon saw, and producing a working model for his elliptical steam engine, which he later perfected.

After an engineering apprenticeship in Aberdeen and Dundee he worked for a civil engineering company in Glasgow and then Edinburgh. Here he invented a new way of detonating explosives using electricity, thereby saving many lives in the mining industry world-wide.  He was only 23 years old when he patented the pneumatic tyre, a design remarkably similar to the modern radial tyre. However this met with limited success because of the poor quality of roads and the variable quality of vulcanised rubber, the rubber industry still being in its infancy. He turned to solid rubber tyres for his next inventions – an invalid chair, his road steamers capable of hauling up to 40 tons and steam omnibuses.  

 Later inventions included the self-filling fountain pen, a potable steam crane, and a hydraulic dry dock.  His many patents included a method for separating rock, stone and coal, improvements to steam gauges and elastic beds and seats.


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Technical Info from SPRA

  • Materials Thermoplastics, Thermosets, Elastomers, Additives.
  • Processes Moulding, Extrusion, Thermoforming, Ancillaries.
  • Design Product, Mould, CAE, Testing.
  • Applications Healthcare, Packaging, Electronics, Other Markets.
  • Environment Waste, Recycling, Sustainability, Legislation, Energy.
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