J. Thomas Chapin, Ph.D.
Director of Corporate Research
Tom Chapin is director of UL's Corporate Research department. He joined UL in 2001, after a 30-year career in the telecommunications industry.
Before joining UL, Dr. Chapin was Technical Manager of the Copper and Fiber Optic Materials Development Group at Lucent Technologies' Bell Laboratories Optical Fiber Solutions division. Before that, he was a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, principally involved in materials development and fire research associated with fiber optic cable, electronic wire and cable, and premises cable products.
He began his career in 1977 as an R&D scientist at the Upjohn Company in North Haven, Conn., working in the development of new thermoplastic, polymeric materials from isocyanates.
From there, he moved to AT&T Bell Laboratories, where for the next decade he was integral in the research and development of innovative materials and products used in telecommunications, particularly in the fiber optics area.
His research projects included the development of the first transatlantic undersea lightwave system, TAT-8 from New Jersey to the UK and France, fiber optic guided missile systems, development of high speed UV curable coatings for optical fiber and even controlled release insecticide products to protect outdoor telecommunications systems.
Dr. Chapin was an honors scholar graduate of the University of Connecticut, with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1974. He earned his doctorate from the Institute of Materials Science at the University of Connecticut in polymer chemistry in 1978. His thesis was entitled "Excimer Fluorescence of Synthetic Polypeptides". As an undergraduate, he specialized in organic chemistry and his Bachelors thesis was entitled "Enzymatic Degradation of a-Benzylated Nylons".
Dr. Chapin's technical papers have been published extensively since 1977, and his work in copper and fiber optic cable technology has resulted in 16 U.S. patents.
At UL, Dr. Chapin's focus includes materials characterization and reliability studies. Before and since joining UL, he has focused on content flammability and sources of ignition; fire services education and training in fire ignition, fire growth and fuel load calculation; and fire research on materials and plastics, including corrosion, decomposition, ignition and long-term stability.
He is involved in the detailed study of smoke from a variety of materials to facilitate new detection schemes and the development of new smoke suppressant technology; he also has been active in our restricted substances program, in particular its application to materials and products related to fire safety.
Dr. Chapin is chairman of the UL Fire Council and active in a number of external committees, including chair of the IEC TC 113 Nanotechnology Standardization of Electrical and Electronic Systems and serving as a technical director of an NFPA Advisory Council and as a board member of the International Sleep Products Association's Sleep Products Safety Council, and the International Consortium for Fire Safety, Health and Environment.
Dr. Chapin also is on the editorial review board of the NFPA Journal and a member of the American Chemical Society, the USFA/CDC/CPSC Fire Safety Council and the National Association of State Fire Marshals' School Safety Committee for Hazard Abatement.