Born Aug 7 1919 - Died Feb 19 2012
Polymers and Production Thereof
HDPE and Polypropylene Plastics
Patent Number(s) 2,825,721
Paul Hogan and fellow research chemist Robert Banks were working for Phillips Petroleum in 1951 when they invented crystalline polypropylene and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Together, the plastics were marketed under the brand name Marlex®, which has since made its way into every corner of American life. Banks and Hogan began working together in 1946. Low-density polyethylene already existed, but manufacturing it required extremely high pressures. While working on another project to improve yields of high-octane gasoline--the two chemists discovered crystalline polypropylene. They experimented further and found they were able to produce HDPE in a low pressure situation. Their discoveries launched a multi-billion dollar industry.
Today, over 55 billion pounds of HDPE are manufactured each year. Plastic products include gallon milk jugs, laundry baskets, indoor-outdoor carpeting, and artificial turf.
Hogan grew up in Lowes, Kentucky and received a degree in chemistry and physics from Murray State University. During World War II, he served as an instructor at a preflight school. He joined Phillips in 1944, working there until his 1985 retirement. His numerous awards include the Pioneer Chemist Award and the Society of Chemical Industry's Perkin Medal. Hogan holds 52 U.S. patents.