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Scientist motivated by real-world applications

When fiber glass scientist Hong Li peers through a microscope as part of his latest research project, he sees more than tiny fibers. He sees the potential to improve the world.

Hong Li with a gas chromatographic spectrometer used to help optimize fiber glass manufacturing.
“I find materials science to be a very exciting field,” said Li, senior scientist at PPG’s Glass Business and Discovery Center in Harmar, Pa. “But I always want to see whether the principle or knowledge can be used in a practical field. There’s motivation for me to apply the theory to real-world applications.”

Li’s passion for his work and commitment to advancing the contributions of his field to modern society have earned him widespread recognition both within PPG and among his peers around the world.

He recently received one of the highest honors in his field – being named an American Ceramic Society fellow.
Born in China, Li came to the United States in the 1980s to advance his education, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Before joining PPG in 2000, Li worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., where he was instrumental in improving glass formulations for storing nuclear waste.

According to Tom Kerr, vice president, fiber glass, “Hong has been a tremendous asset for PPG,” securing 20 patents and patent applications, earning an INNOVA Award for innovation in 2008, and most recently leading the research effort that resulted in the introduction of PPG’s new INNOFIBER® fiber glass series, Innofiber XM for wind turbine blade, Innofiber CR for high acid corrosion resistant pipes and chemical storage, Innofiber LD for high end printed circuit board, etc.

“I feel honored,” Li said, “to be able to work in a field that provides me the opportunity to have such a huge impact on people’s lives.”

Innofiber is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.