ChE Seminar Series: Russell F. Dunn, Ph.D.

Date(s) - 01/30/2024
9:00 am - 10:00 am

HPNP 1404


Title: Polymer Failure Analysis of Engineered Products – A Discussion of Key Design and Safety-Related Issues

Russell F. Dunn, Ph.D.
Professor of the Practice of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Vanderbilt University.

In 2004, Dr. Russell F. Dunn founded a small engineering consulting business to focus on industrial process design that targets reduced energy and water consumption and the failure analysis of polymer components used in engineered products. The company continues to operate at the 20-year anniversary of its formation and, to date, over 280 engineering projects have been conducted through this company. Through this business, Dr. Dunn has been engaged in the failure analysis of hundreds of polymer components used in automobiles, aircraft, medical devices, medical implants and consumer products. In this talk, Dr. Dunn will present case study discussing specific key business and engineering factors such as polymer selection, polymer component design, component and system failure analysis to identify any deficiency(s) prior to market, the overall risk assessment process, risk-benefit analysis (e.g. clinical studies versus 510(k) premarket notification) and a review of the relevant regulations and/or engineering standards. Safety education in the chemical engineering curriculum that provides students with hazard analysis expertise, and other risk management tools, is crucial to equip future engineers with the skills needed to develop more robust process and product designs. Improvements in engineering design will decrease injuries and deaths from failed processes and products, create a more positive perception of chemical and polymer manufacturers, reduce legal consequences, and lead to more sustainable businesses.

Russell F. Dunn, Ph.D., P.E., is a Professor of the Practice of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Vanderbilt University. He also has prior academic experience teaching chemical engineering courses at Auburn University and the Technical University of Denmark. He has authored numerous publications and presentations on chemical and environmental engineering design, in addition to having over 39 years of professional experience in industry, consulting and academia. His industrial experience includes being appointed to Fellow when he worked at Solutia. Dr. Dunn is the Founder and President of Polymer and Chemical Technologies, LLC, a company that provides chemical process failure analysis and polymer product failure analysis in addition to developing environmental and energy-based industrial process designs. Through his company, formed in 2004, Dr. Dunn has been a consultant to domestic and international legal firms where he has conducted over 250 engineering investigations involving chemical process and polymer product failures and he has testified as a scientific expert in 60 depositions and 10 trials. He has also served as a consultant to numerous chemical and polymer companies in the US, Singapore, and India, where he has developed energy conservation designs and water conservation designs using pinch technology and process integration design methodologies.

Dr. Dunn is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Florida. Before starting his engineering consulting company, Dr. Dunn had prior industrial experience in various research, technology and management positions at General Electric Company, Monsanto Chemical Company, Solutia, McSwain Engineering and Ampex Corporation. Dr. Dunn has been teaching or co-teaching all chemical engineering design, safety and laboratory courses using the Chemical Innovation Lab (ChIL) at Vanderbilt University over the past 13 years. He has received numerous awards for his work in industry, consulting, and academia and is also a co-inventor for five patents.