Jin Sang Kim, the new Director-General of the Jeonbuk Institute of Advanced Composite Materials
a panoraic view of KIST Jeonbuk Institute
In August 2020, Dr. Kim was appointed as the KIST's new head, the Jeonbuk Institute of Advanced Composite Materials. Dr. Kim has devoted himself to the research of electronic materials for over 30 years and led to new semiconductor materials and devices. This is why he was selected as the right person in the Jeonbuk branch established to achieve the cornerstone of economic development through the development of carbon-related composite material technology.
As soon as he arrived, he had one-on-one interviews with all employees and heard the research site's voice. He listened to the concerns accumulated over the years, from requests for replacement of outdated facilities to improve the research environment and difficulties in research. After the interviews, he went through, again and again, the voices of the researchers compressed in A4 sheets. He had a feeling of confidence following these conversations and thought, “I can do it together with these people”.
He said, “I had a lot of worries about how to run the research institute, but I felt reassured that the talented researchers were working hard for the future in our KIST Jeonbuk.” He showed his confidence in managing the institute by adding, “Above all, I gained the trust that these people can do it.”
Two joint projects with the Jeonbuk Institute remain as excellent practice cases
“I built a relationship with KIST Jeonbuk Institute by doing two joint projects. I wanted to immerse myself in research in a quiet place, and I arrived here. I think it was meant to be.”
Director-General Kim conducted joint research with the Jeonbuk Institute while serving as the head of the Moon Exploration Research Project Promotion Team and head of the R&D project team customized for the security site. The Jeonbuk Institute, where research on combining the strengths of two or more materials to create a more synergistic effect is being conducted, was a partner he wanted to work together. Lightweight materials for space travel were researched jointly, and together they also developed an ultra-lightweight foldable shield to protect police officers. Police officers are using these shields and are considered an excellent case among the research team's projects. They were also recently donated to Nigeria.
The Jeonbuk Institute has developed a technology that can recover more than 95% of carbon fiber by treating carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) at an eco-friendly and low-cost level. This was transferred to a company. Further, a technology for synthesizing boron nitride was developed, a two-dimensional substance composed of two elements (nitrogen and boron) into a single crystal, and was published in the famous international journal, Science.
The “waste plastic into carbon by upcycling technology” he mentioned is expected to be used in high-value-added carbon resource conversion technology from waste plastics, which are increasing due to Covid-19.
“As the time spend at home increased due to Covid-19, the consumption of food delivery and the use of disposables increased. We have confirmed that graphite and carbon can be extracted from plastics and used as electrode materials, so we will improve them with low-cost process technology to help solve social problems that may arise from non-face-to-face activities.”
Lastly, there is something he wants to achieve while in office. It is a research institute where researchers can settle down and work hard. He said, “Because the Jeonbuk Institute office is located in an area far from the metropolitan area, there is indeed high researcher turnover. There are many young researchers, but I will try to operate the institution so that they can become leader-level researchers.”
He added, “I always dream of a future where we can develop carbon-based composite materials to make electric wires, automobile cables, power transmission lines, and so on, and commercialize them. I will create a good research environment where researchers can achieve success.”