John Gillham

Professor of Chemical Engineering, Emeritus
Email Address:

B.A., Chemistry, University of Cambridge, 1953

M.A., Chemistry, University of Cambridge, 1957

Ph.D., Chemistry, McGill University, 1959

Honors and Awards

  • Special Recognition Award, North American Thermal Analysis Society, 2005
  • Founders Award, Society of Plastics Engineers, Polymer Analysis Division, 2005
  • Fellow, Society of Plastics Engineers, 2000
  • Fellow, American Chemical Society, Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering, 2000
  • Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings, American Chemical Society, 1996
  • Annual Technical Meeting Best Paper Award, Society of Plastics Engineers, Engineering Properties and Structure Division, 1991
  • First Prize in the Roon Foundation Awards Competition of the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technologies for the best technical paper, 1989
  • International Research Award, Society of Plastics Engineers, 1988
  • Outstanding Review Paper Award, Electronics Components Conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, 1985
  • First Prize in the Roon Foundation Awards Competition of the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technologies for the best technical paper, 1983
  • Doolittle Award, Division of Organic Coatings and Plastics Chemistry, American Chemical Society, for the best technical paper, 1980
  • Mettler Award in Thermal Analysis, North American Thermal Analysis Society, 1978
  • Award in the Chemistry of Plastics and Coatings, American Chemical Society, 1978

Research Interests

Our research theme is the molecular design of engineering plastics to replace metals. Programs have included: relationships between molecular architectures, submolecular motions, morphology, and macroscopic properties; formation and properties of thermosetting network and high temperature polymers; pyrolysis of polymers; catalysts in polymerization; spiral and helical fractures in filament/polymer composites. We developed the torsional braid analyzer (TBA), a freely oscillating torsion pendulum for characterizing the mechanical response of small quantities (25 mg) of polymer over a wide temperature range at about 1 Hz. The TBA was the first commercial automated dynamic mechanical analyzer for polymers. We introduced the time-temperature-transformation (TTT) cure diagram for thermosetting polymers during isothermal reaction, delineating the boundaries between the various states: liquid, sol/gel rubber, gel rubber, sol glass, sol/gel glass, gel glass, and char. More recently, we introduced the conversion-temperature-property (TgTP) diagram, on which iso-property contours delineate the various states.

Publications List: 

S. L. Maddox and J. K. Gillham, “Isothermal Physical Aging of a Fully Cured Epoxy-Amine Thermosetting System”, J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 64, (1), 55 (1997).

J. K. Gillham, “The TBA Torsion Pendulum: A Technique for Characterizing the Cure and Properties of Thermosetting Systems”, Polym. Intern’l., 44, (3), 262 (1997).

G. Wisanrakkit and J.K. Gillham, “The Glass Transition Temperature (Tg) as an Index of Chemical Conversion for a High-Tg Amine/Epoxy System: Chemical and Diffusion Controlled Reaction Kinetics”, J. Appl. Polym. Sci, 41., (11-12), 2885 (1990).

J.B. Enns and J.K. Gillham, “The Time-Temperature-Transformation (TTT) Cure Diagram: Modeling the Cure Behavior of Thermosets”, J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 28, (8), 2567 (1983).

J. K. Gillham and B. H. Adee, “Spiral Fracture Characteristics in Some Reinforced Polymers”, Nature, 212, (5060), 391 (1966).