The University of Akron has an entire college devoted to polymer science and engineering. It was inaugurated in July of 1988 by combining the Department of Polymer Science, then in the Buchtel College of Arts and Science, with the Department of Polymer Engineering, then in the College of Engineering. The college is organized for teaching and research at the graduate level, granting the M.S and PhD in either Polymer Science or Polymer Engineering. The organization includes two complementary research institutes which oversee the facilities, instrumentation and support staff and generally provide a research focus for the department faculty and graduate students. The institute directors and the department chairs report to the dean. The program is the largest (~34 faculty, ~300 graduate students and post-docs) and broadest in the U.S., dating from 1910, and is recognized as being among the world's best. Its traditional strengths in new polymer synthesis and their manufacturing processes which compound, shape, and assemble polymer products, have been complemented in the past two decades by computational simulations, morphological, surface and optical characterization, as well as a number of added specializations, such as new, federally funded programs in nanotechnologies and photonics that have permitted a much stronger focus on active polymer devices and assemblies. College faculty members have generated over 160 active patents and have licensed technologies that have been commercialized worldwide.
The 146,000 sq. ft. Goodyear Polymer Center, incorporates 8 large polymer synthesis groups with specialized labs for all categories of synthesis. It also contains supercomputer computer simulation and modeling capabilities, molecular and morphological characterization labs, surface analysis facilities, a microscopy suite, a clean room, and thermal analysis and mechanical properties testing equipment. The 36,000 sq. ft, Polymer Engineering Academic Center is a new office and teaching facility, incorporating the Akron Global Polymer Academy's (AGPA) and the ACS Rubber Division headquarters. The center is connected to the Sidney L. Olson Research Center a 70,000 sq. ft. facility that includes advanced laboratories for coatings, compounding, blending, extrusion, film blowing, blow molding, biaxial stretching, filament winding, and fiber spinning as well as specialized processing equipment. Morphological and thermal characterization labs along with mechanical testing and eximer laser facilities are included. The Akron Polymer Training Center is an 18,000 sq. ft. facility which houses classrooms, computer and processing laboratories for workforce training and non-credit course offerings.