Roy Plunkett starts this conversation with James Bohning by describing his family background. As the family were members of the Church of the Brethren it was natural for Plunkett to attend Manchester College, where Paul Flory was a close friend and near contemporary. Despite the rigors of the Depression, Roy Plunkett was able to complete his chemistry studies at Manchester College and to go to Ohio State University for graduate work in carbohydrate chemistry. An offer from DuPont sent Plunkett to the Jackson laboratories and the refrigerants group where an early assignment was the synthesis of tetrafluoroethylene. Plunkett tells the story of the plugged gas cylinder and his recognition of the unusual properties of the polymer.
However, soon after this, Plunkett was moved to tetraethyl lead manufacture; he details his work there and his later career in the Organic Chemicals Department. The interview ends with the recognition of his pioneer work with Teflon and the honors it has brought him. In a brief second interview, Roy Plunkett tells of his common religious background with Paul Flory, their student days at Manchester College and Ohio State University, and their contacts over the years. The conversation ends with further recollections of the circumstances of the initial discovery of tetrafluoroethylene polymerization.
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Plunkett, Roy J. (Roy Joseph), interviewed by James J. Bohning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 14, 1986. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0037. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/0g354g32t.
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