The Life of New Materials
Posted on 10/03/2011
· by: Max Liboiron
On Nov. 17 and 18 the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) and the Hagley
Museum and Library will sponsor the conference, "The Life of New Materials."
Conference sessions will explore the ways in which the development, use,
and re-use of new materials is an embedded feature of our industrial society.
The conference takes the biographies of new
materials as its theme: their use cycle, place in supply chains, or
features as material culture; and corresponding, their impact -
anticipated or not - on subsequent innovations. Papers range from showing
the popularity of using materials derived from food for non-food products
to how the development of fiberglass affected guitars and new paints
affected art. Several authors look at the process through which the
newly-popular metal aluminum became material both for art and for
packaging. Other papers look at the creation and then reuse of prosaic
materials ranging from the Post-it notes to concrete blocks, and how
strategy and innovation affected the use of new inventions, including
liquid crystals and Bakelite plastic. Finally the conference also
addresses new materials that failed, most dramatically in soaps and
tampons, but also in electronic manufacturing. The presenters include both
senior scholars and graduate students, and come from Japan, France,
England, Belgium, and all over the United States.
Sessions on Thursday Nov. 17 will take place at the CHF in Philadelphia
beginning at 1 p.m., and Friday sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 6
p.m. at Hagley in Wilmington, Delaware.
Detailed program and registration is available at the Chemical Heritage Foundation website at
For more info, please contact Carol Ressler Lockman, Hagley Center at