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Owens-Illinois partners with UT College of Engineering to advance glass research

Owens-Illinois Inc. and The University of Toledo College of Engineering have signed a three-year agreement that will enhance research at the company’s new R&D Collaboration Center.

Scheduled to be completed by fall, the R&D Innovation Center will produce sample glass containers using new manufacturing technologies and product designs being tested by the company. UT will contribute state-of-the-art equipment to the effort as well as graduate student support from its Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

“We are excited about the opportunity to use UT’s state-of-the-art equipment to help us advance our understanding of basic principles,” said Dr. Kimberly Houchens, vice president of R&D for Owens-Illinois. “Our scientists will benefit from the help of UT graduate students, who will leverage the University’s extensive laboratory capabilities.”

The UT College of Engineering Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department has considerable experience developing and characterizing other types of sustainable materials.

“This partnership with Owens-Illinois will give us an opportunity to expand our efforts and add glass to our materials experience, giving our students new opportunities to learn and grow,” said Dr. Maria Coleman, professor and co-director of UT’s Institute for Sustainable Engineering Materials.

According to Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering, the partnership is an important one.

“Particularly in times when resources are tight, public-private partnerships provide opportunities beyond what either organization can accomplish alone. We’re proud of our long relationship with Owens-Illinois and this new collaboration only strengthens that bond,” Naganathan said.


The agreement covers salary and fees for graduate research assistants to partner with O-I scientists and engineers. The budget also covers the purchase of newly available equipment specific to characterize glass, and fees to use UT’s existing equipment, including X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy instruments.