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University of Cincinnati's William Vanooij earns first Ohio Patent Award from Ohio Academy of Science

University of Cincinnati Engineering Professor Emeritus William Vanooij and co-inventors are receiving the first Ohio Patent Award from the Ohio Academy of Science (OAS) and the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) Intellectual Property Law Section. The award also recognizes their attorney, Martin J. Miller of Cincinnati.

Vanooij will receive an engraved plaque at the annual meeting of the Ohio Academy of Science on April 10, 2010.

Now retired from the University of Cincinnati, Vanooij is the chief scientist of his spin-off company, ECOSIL, which is a leader in the application of robust silane surface treatments for corrosion protection of many kinds of metals. Silanes are a type of silicon-bearing material used to increase adhesion of materials that otherwise would not stick to each other. Silanes can also be used to enhance paint adhesion.

ECOSIL is Vanooij's first company for which he won the Emerging Entrepreneur Faculty Award in 2005 and the Established Entrepreneur Faculty Award in 2009. Now that he is fully retired, much of his time is devoted to writing government proposals.

"We have been quite successful," Vanooij says, "We have won four of them already."

The company started out in the Hamilton County Business Center in Norwood at first, but soon expanded and since 2006 has been located in Fairfield, Ohio, near Jungle Jim's.

The patent he chose to submit for consideration was one that he had filed in the name of the University of Cincinnati in 2004. Besides himself, also listed on the patent are a former graduate student (who now works for a large company in upstate New York) and an engineer from a local company, who is now deceased.

"The patent had to be at least two years old, and should be one that could potentially generate jobs for Ohio," Vanooij explains. As the holder of 30 U.S. patents, he has a few from which to choose, you might say.

"This is a unique patent as it describes the bonding of steel to rubber through the use of silanes," Vanooij continues. "No one had done that before."

The patent has led to the building, design and testing of a special type of radial tires.

"We collaborate with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in Findlay, Ohio, and also with Tokusen USA, Inc., in Arkansas," Vanooij says. Tokusen is the domestic branch of a Japanese high-quality "specialty wire" manufacturer, who works extensively with the tire industry by providing the steel cords for the tire belts.

"The people at Cooper Tire are very excited," says Vanooij. "Their tire tests clearly demonstrated the performance advantages of the presence of the silane-treated steel cords in the belt."

Cooper, Tokusen and Ecosil have been working on this for years, but have been keeping it quiet until now.

"We've been blowing tires up and blowing tires out," says Vanooij. "Now we're ready to blow our cover."

In fact, Vanooij is receiving the Melvin Mooney Distinguished Technology Award from the American Chemical Society's Rubber Division. He will be presenting a discussion of the tires and tire bonding in his Award Lecture at the spring meeting of the division.

Vanooij earned his MS with highest honors in chemical engineering in 1964 and his PhD in physical chemistry also with highest honors in 1971, both from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. After receiving his PhD, he accepted a two-year post-doctoral associate position at Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University, but then returned to The Netherlands to become a senior research chemist for Akzo Research Laboratories (now Akzo Nobel), a position he held for more than 12 years. Vanooij then returned to academe as a visiting professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, followed by a three-year appointment at the Colorado School of Mines as a professor of chemistry. He joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering faculty in (what was then) UC's College of Engineering in 1993. Prior to coming to UC he held a four-year position at Armco Research & Technologies (now AK Steel) as head of their Corrosion Group.

He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Materials Research Society, the Adhesion Society, the China Ordnance Research Society and the Royal Dutch Chemical Society. Vanooij has published in approximately 350 scientific and technical publications, holds 30 U.S. and 38 European patents and filed more than 100 invention disclosures while at UC.

Vanooij will receive an engraved plaque at the OAS annual meeting on April 10 at Ohio Northern University, Ada. Attorney Miller will also receive an engraved plaque at the OAS annual meeting or at the annual convention of the OSBA, at his choosing. Further details are posted at


Contact: Wendy Beckman
University of Cincinnati

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