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