Mohamed S. El-Aasser, dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University, will receive the prestigious Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings for 2002. The choice was announced by the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) of the AmericanChemical Society.

The award will be presented on Aug. 19, during the 224th Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

The PMSE Award Committee said El-Aasser is particularly noted for research in the areas of polymer latexes and emulsion polymerization, and said he has pioneered the development of mini-emulsions - stable oil/water emulsions with average droplet diameters of less than 500 nanometers. This work has led to a number of novel technologies, including hybrid latexes prepared by emulsification of a polymer solution in monomer, followed by polymerization in mini-emulsion droplets. The technology has led to the formulation of latexes from natural polymers and encapsulation of inorganic pigments and dyes into polymer particles.

El-Aasser also has contributed to understanding of the mechanics of emulsion polymerization and has carried out important work in the area of film formation, film properties, and the role of surfactants in surface coatings, the Tess Award committee said. He also has played a lead role in the development of Lehigh University's Emulsion Polymers Institute, considered the leading organization of its kind in the world, the committee said.

El-Aasser has received a number of honors for his research accomplishments, including a NASA award for his contributions to the design of a reactor that synthesized the first products ever made in space - polystyrene latex microspheres that were certified as standard reference materials for calibrating microscopic objects.