News Release 06-153
Vitamin C and Water Not Just Healthy for People -- Healthy for Plastics, too
New manufacturing techniques may lead to cheaper, "greener" plastics
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A new use for vitamin C (background) allows researchers to use less copper catalyst to drive powerful polymerization reactions critical for manufacturing many plastics.
Credit: National Science Foundation, adapted in part from a Carnegie Mellon graphic
This image illustrates the power of the new ERA technology developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. This environmentally friendly technology uses vitamin C or other electron-absorbing agents to reduce the amount of copper driving a plastic manufacturing technique known as ATRP. ATRP gives manufacturers a broader chemistry toolkit than the commercially used FRP technique, yet produces significant copper waste. In a series of test tubes, the dark solution (ATRP) contains a high amount of copper byproduct, while FRP contains none. The new, "green" ERA-ATRP process has the power of ATRP, creating nanoscale, uniform plastics with optimal functionality, but ERA is more efficient and yields a much clearer solution with less catalyst waste.
Credit: Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University
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