Stuart is known worldwide for his fundamental work on phase separation in block polymers, which are responsible for the good mechanical properties of many widely-used polymers such as the polyurethanes used in the high-performance thermoplastic elastomer industry. In 2013, he received the Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers Award from the American Chemical Society’s Rubber Division. This award recognizes innovations that have yielded significant new commercial or patentable materials.
He also led the field in defining biomedical polyurethanes from both a chemical and physical perspective, and wrote two major books in the field. His early research integrating chemical engineering with the then-emerging discipline of biomedical engineering has much advanced polymer blood compatibility and biocompatibility. In 2009 he received the Founders Award from the Society for Biomaterials, and in 1997, the International Award for Achievement in Biomaterials from the Japanese Society for Biomaterials.
Cooper, who received the AIChE Charles M.A. Stine Award in 1987, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, former president of the Society for Biomaterials, and since 1988 has been a founding co-editor of the Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition. He is also a Founding Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.