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TAPPI Journal selects two winners for 2020 best research paper prize

March 18, 2021  By P&PC Staff

The TAPPI Journal (TJ) has selected two winners for the 2020 edition of its prestigious best research paper prize.

TJ’s editorial board honours the best of TJ content by nominating and voting for the TAPPI Journal Best Research Paper, which is ultimately selected based on scientific merit, innovation, creativity, and clarity.

This is the first time since the award was established in 2006 that the board, which is currently comprised of 18 experts from academia and industry, selected two winning papers.


“The six papers that were nominated this year covered a wide range of the entire pulp, paper and supplier industries, making the selection extremely challenging,” says Peter W. Hart, Ph.D., TJ editor-in-chief.

“On behalf of the TJ Editorial Board, I’d like to congratulate both winners and the other nominated papers. They did wonderful work last year.”

One of the winning papers, “Creasing severity and reverse-side cracking,” was co-authored by Joel C. Panek, research scientist at WestRock, Swan D. Smith, R&D researcher at WestRock, and Douglas W. Coffin, professor at Miami University. The paper physics research appeared in the April 2020 issue.

“It was great to see a paper in the running from North America on paper physics, because it’s exciting that this important area of research is making a resurgence in the region,” says Hart.

In addition to receiving Best Research Paper honours, Panek will also be awarded the Honghi Tran TAPPI Journal Best Research Paper Prize. The $2,000 cash prize is endowed by Professor Emeritus Honghi Tran, Ph.D., of the University of Toronto and author or co-author of more than 80 papers published in TJ.

Tran’s body of work also includes co-authoring the second winning paper for 2020, “Modeling of the energy of a smelt-water explosion in the recovery boiler dissolving tank,” which appeared in the August 2020 issue of TJ.

The recovery boiler winning paper’s first author was Eric Jin, a former student of Tran’s who is now a performance engineering specialist with The Babcock & Wilcox Company.

In addition to Tran, the paper’s co-authors included Malcom Mackenzie and Steve Osborne, who are technology manager and advisory engineer, respectively, for The Babcock & Wilcox Company.

“Under the tutelage of Tran, teams continue to add high-quality content in the liquor cycle, kiln and recausticizing arenas,” says Hart. “This makes the TJ Editorial Board’s selection even more difficult.”

Tran established the Prize in 2019 to encourage and reward the publication of high-quality research in TJ. Since his former student, Jin, was co-winner of the 2020 Best Research Paper Award, the prize was awarded to Panek as first author of the other paper.

The awards will be presented at TAPPICon LIVE!, which takes place Oct. 3-6 in Atlanta, Ga.

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