Material Development Engineer - Rubber

About NFW

NFW is a circularity platform for plastic-free performance materials. NFW follows three Ground Rules in everything we develop: start well, stay clean, end well. While nearly everything in the built world relies on some type of plastic that began as crude oil and that will become plastic pollution, we are establishing a new material reality. We believe all materials should begin and end as nutrients, ready for the next growth cycle—true circularity.          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Our multi-material platform serves a wide range of industries—from fashion and footwear to automotive and upholstery. NFW technology embeds seamlessly into existing supply chains, enabling the world’s most iconic brands to design and scale products with high-performance, plastic-free materials. NFW makes global brands more sustainable, empowering them to create without plastics. Alongside the boldest brands and visionary designers, we are pioneering a naturally circular, post-oil economy.

NFW is a company of trailblazers, innovators and bold thinkers, committed to reinventing the way things are made. We never stop learning. We are fiercely curious about the world and how to improve it for everyone. We offer competitive salary, paid vacation and sick time, flexible work-life balance, great colleagues and more!

 Material Development Scientist 

We are seeking a results driven candidate who is a self-starter and a creative problem solver, with the ability to work closely with product development, business teams and NFW customers and help bring new products to the market across a wide set of markets and applications. This role will be key to develop our MIRUM™ materials and lead the efforts of the material development team.  This position is onsite in Peoria, IL, at our Jefferson and Galena location.  


  • Work with the MIRUM business unit to align research and development priorities with customer requests and technical difficulty.
  • Develop compounds and manufacturing methods to achieve novel material morphologies.
  • Work with the product development team, the QC lab, and the research team to bring online additional testing capabilities.
  • Design experiments to elucidate root causes of product challenges
  • Document results and provide conclusions & recommendations
  • Stay up to date with technological developments in rubber compounding and seek bio-based analogues to petrochemical additives.
  • Other duties as assigned.

  • Required, Bachelor's degree (materials science, polymer science or related discipline), preferred Master’s degree
  • Required, 3  plus years previous industry experience in rubber compounding
  • Required, hands-on experience in rubber mixing on a two-roll mill
  • Required, hands-on experience in rubber testing (tensile, abrasion, fatigue)
  • Required, hands-on laboratory chemistry experience (titrations, solution preparation)
  • Demonstrated ability to generate compounding alternatives to fix product challenges
  • Experience in experimental design and results analysis
  • Outstanding communication and presentation skills, excellent interpersonal and analytical skills
  • A start-up mentality as well as the ability to wear multiple hats
  • Fluency in office productivity tools (Microsoft Office, Google suite)
  • Attention to detail
  • Written and conversational fluency in English

Physical Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

  • Regular standing, walking, sitting, reaching, and kicking (kick stop on equipment)
  • Ability to lift 35lbs, occasionally team lifting of up to 75 pounds (the weight of a bale of rubber)
  • Upper body strength to handle mill knife and sheet-off rubber and the ability to handle sharp objects safely
  • Frequent talking, hearing and seeing
  • Frequent using of hands to grasp, handle, or feel.
  • Ability to work with hot and cold surfaces.   

Work Environment

  • Primarily operates in office and manufacturing environments
  • Some of the work is performed in a shop environment where it may be loud, dusty, hot or cold
  • Routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and photocopiers.
  • Regularly required to use personal protective equipment
  • Travel of up to 20% may be required during partner development activities

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

The Company is dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive team in which members of all backgrounds can contribute and thrive. In compliance with state and federal law, the Company does not discriminate in employment or administration of its programs and policies on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, or military service. Our policy reflects and affirms the Company’s commitment to the principles of fair employment and the elimination of all unlawful discriminatory practices.

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