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Why Research at Clemson

When you choose to research at Clemson, you gain access to the resources of a Carnegie R1 research institution. Our active Extension and public service network, state-of-the-art innovation campuses and robust programs empower high-impact researchers to create the work they’ve always dreamed of.

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Researchers develop plant-based foam substitute

Two women and two men, all wearing lab gear and medical face coverings, look on at a scale holding a beaker with a brown liquid substance.

Polyurethane foams are commonly found in insulation, car seats and other types of cushioning. They are the world’s sixth-most produced plastic yet among the least recycled materials and are typically made using chemicals that are suspected carcinogens. To address these environmental and health concerns, research professors Srikanth Pilla and James Sternberg have created a bio-based foam using lignin, a byproduct of the paper pulping industry, and a vegetable oil-based curing agent that introduces flexibility and toughness to the final material. The foam can be recycled because the main components of the chemical network used to produce the foam can be extracted and reused. Initial testing shows good durability in wet conditions, an important condition for gaining commercial adoption.

Learn more about this new material

Clemson Research by the Numbers

Innovation Clusters

Clemson’s innovation clusters represent the primary areas where the University has a rich history of expertise and new research opportunities designed to benefit our state and country.

  • Advanced Materials
  • Cyberinfrastructure and Big Data Science
  • Energy, Transportation and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Health Innovation
  • Human Resilience
  • Sustainable Environment
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Industry Partners

Clemson University faculty, staff and students provide expertise, state-of-the-art research facilities and the determined spirit required to create innovative answers for today’s industries.

Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives
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Faculty Research Support

Clemson attracts and retains leading researchers by remaining committed to allocating funds, personnel and exclusive opportunities for researchers. Discover the programs and initiatives that provide Clemson researchers with grants, major research equipment and more.

Review Clemson’s Research Initiatives
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Clemson Research News