Xavier Magazine

Polish Patents

It’s the little things that make Tara Weinmann’s job interesting. Really little things, actually—nano-sized things. For many, when science gets that tiny, it becomes scary. But for the 2004 natural science graduate, it’s all a matter of perspective. “Nano-technology is like having a crack and trying to fill the cracked surface with bowling balls,” she says. “You can’t fit many in the crack, and you aren’t going to have that smooth surface. Fill the crack with marbles, however, you have a smooth surface.”

It’s that understanding that helped Weinmann, a  research chemist for Ashland Inc., collect her third patent. She and her co-worker/mentor Hida Hasinovic were granted a patent in May for a cleaning and polishing composition for metallic surfaces. The product, known as “Eagle One,”  is sold in auto parts stores as a car polish.

For Weinmann, the development was rough—at least on her car. She and Hasinovic would spend their days going from the lab to the parking lot, using their own cars for testing, trying to come up with something better—a better composition, a safer ingredient, a less costly formula—than the competitor. In the end, they came up with their own invention.

For Weinmann, getting to this point has been a struggle. Since working at Ashland, she had to battle and defeat a tumor on her mastoid bone. She also had to overcome some bad advice after failing an organic chemistry test: change majors.

“Three patents later, I wonder what would have happened had I listened to that advice,” she says. “It’s so redeeming to walk into an AutoZone and see the products I helped develop. Technology is changing even the most superficial of fields. I’m not curing cancer or developing nanobots. I’m making wheel polish, but it is exciting to be able to do it more efficiently than ever before.”

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