Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering


DuPont recently honored Richard Livingston ’43 Th’44 by naming a new consultation room after him at DuPont Singapore. The capstone of Livingston’s career with DuPont was an innovative manual he published, which details melt nylon properties responding to chemical and mechanical inputs. The manual was a central reference document for DuPont’s mathematical simulations and nylon solid melt processing.

Beginning in 1970, Livingston gathered data for modeling of nylon chemical processes. He presented all of the data with charts, a unique approach that had not been tried before. “This was very early in the computer era,” Livingston says. “We were manufacturing nylon at the plant where I worked, and it was hard to cope with the multiple chemical changes. I attempted to categorize all of the changes.”

He experimented with applying computer power to the engineering technology for the manufacture of nylon. An early assignment was to work out a simple element of the process to demonstrate it could be modeled on computers. He connected relationships between what happened to nylon under increases in temperature and pressure. “I was shocked to find how little we really knew in terms of specifics, absolute relationships,” he says. “It forced me to play around and gather together sources and that went on for several years.”

Livingston and his colleagues were allowed to run tests on DuPont’s IBM machines at night. “More often than not, they wouldn’t work,” he says. Livingston assembled all of the information he collected in a manual titled Polymer Relationships, which is still in use at DuPont. Livingston says the results that he compiled in Polymer Relationships were long-lasting because they were useful in many areas. “What we found turned out to be fundamental truths,” he says. “The chemistry is the same even though the equipment is modified. The relationships are not specific to a certain application.”

While he says he is flattered by DuPont’s recent recognition of his contribution, he has no plans to travel to Singapore to check out the Livingston room in person. He is just as proud that his work is useful more locally. “There are some people who live in Seaford [Delaware] and work at the DuPont plant here,” he says. “They tell me they still use the manual.”

Livingston, one of three students in the first mechanical engineering class at Thayer School, served with the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II and joined DuPont in 1946. He spent seven years in Buffalo, N.Y., at a DuPont rayon plant and then moved to Seaford, where he worked until his retirement in 1982. He stayed with DuPont as a consultant for another 20 years.

—Jennifer Seaton

>> Ariel Dowling ’05 Th’05 received a National Science Foundation grant for three years of graduate study leading to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree. Dowling is working on an M.S./Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, focusing on biomechanics with a project on anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries of the knee. She is looking into the mechanism of an ACL injury — as well as how a person’s gait changes before and after ACL reconstruction surgery — in an effort to improve the surgical procedure. This year’s honorable mentions include Erik M. Dambach ’04 Th’05 and Kara K. Podkaminer Th’09.

>> Benton Routh ’86 Th’87 has advanced from his position as chief marketing officer of fuel card provider FleetCor to president of its new division. Routh, a 15-year veteran of the oil and credit card industry, heads FleetSource, which offers products and services customized to independent petroleum marketers. Prior to joining the Atlanta-based FleetCor, Routh was the global manager of the commercial vehicles and card business at Exxon Mobil Fuels Marketing Co.

>> John McNeill ’83, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ outstanding paper award at its International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco in February, 2006. He is the coauthor of “A Split-ADC Architecture for Deterministic Digital Background Calibration of a 16b 1 MS/s ADC.”

Categories: Alumni News, Spotlights

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