HOUSTON – January 21, 2019 Kraton Corporation (NYSE: KRA), a leading global producer of styrenic block copolymers, specialty polymers and high-value performance products derived from pine wood pulping co-products, announces that Willem Vonk – a Kraton employee of 48 years and a modified asphalt pioneer – will be honored by the Association of Modified Asphalt Producers (AMAP). He will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award with induction into the Modified Asphalt Hall of Fame at AMAP’s 20th Anniversary Conference & Workshop on February 6, 2019 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Vonk will also present a seminar on the history of asphalt modification on February 5. His work pioneered the use of polymers for modified asphalt, which has enabled Kraton to create exceptional value for the roofing and paving market.

“Willem Vonk played a key role in the development of SBS polymer modified asphalt,” said Bob Kluttz, Senior Manager of Market Development for Performance Products at Kraton. “His ingenuity has led to innovations that continue to make a positive difference in people’s lives through safer, more durable homes and roads.”

“I’m honored to be recognized by AMAP and my industry peers,” said Vonk. “Kraton’s work in modified asphalt allowed for significant advancements in many key markets, and I am proud to be a part of that legacy.”


Making History

The use of polymers to improve asphalt performance emerged in the late 20th century. Around that time, Vonk began his career with the Shell Oil Company’s block copolymer business – which later became Kraton – as an asphalt technician in the Netherlands while earning a chemical engineering degree. During his nearly 50-year career, he was essential in advancing the global understanding of polymer synthesis and application methodology for asphalt modification.

Vonk’s body of work significantly contributed to the fundamental understanding of asphalt binder adhesion properties, asphalt emulsion technologies and roofing membrane modification. His work on high vinyl block copolymers resulted in many asphalt and polymer process and patents on technologies that are still in use today. Other key contributions include the development of:

  • asphalt binder modification for emulsions, enabling the application of ultra-thin overlays;
  • pigmentable binders where polymers can replace asphaltenes;
  • efficient, affordable asphalt/polymer blending technology;
  • constitutional asphalt boundaries for effective modification;
  • new polymers including a high-vinyl range of polymers like Kraton™ D1192, widening the scope of asphalt binder modification for paving; and
  • highly modified asphalts for wearing and base courses for production of thinner, cheaper roads with longer lifecycles.

Vonk published numerous journal articles and presented at technical conferences around the world. In 2002, he received the Technical Award by the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers. Vonk retired in 2017, but he continues to share his extensive knowledge of polymer asphalt modification when requested by academia and industry. To learn more about the innovations that Vonk and Kraton pioneered, visit kraton.com/products/paving/paving.php.


About Kraton Corporation
Kraton Corporation (NYSE: KRA) is a leading global producer of styrenic block copolymers, specialty polymers and high-value performance products derived from pine wood pulping co-products. Kraton’s polymers are used in a wide range of applications, including adhesives, coatings, consumer and personal care products, sealants and lubricants, medical, packaging, automotive, paving and roofing applications. As the largest global provider in the pine chemicals industry, the company’s pine-based specialty products are sold into adhesive, road and construction and tire markets, and it produces and sells a broad range of performance chemicals into markets that include fuel additives, oilfield chemicals, coatings, metalworking fluids and lubricants, inks and mining. Kraton offers its products to a diverse customer base in numerous countries worldwide. Kraton, the Kraton logo and design are all trademarks of Kraton Corporation, or its subsidiaries or affiliates.


Media Contact: Thao Pham; T: (281) 770-1380