Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vitamin C And Water Not Just Healthy For People -- Healthy For Plastics, Too

Date:
October 26, 2006
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Two new laboratory breakthroughs are poised to dramatically improve how plastics are made by assembling molecular chains more quickly and with less waste. Using such environmentally friendly substances as vitamin C or pure water, the two approaches present attractive alternatives to the common plastic manufacturing technique called free radical polymerization (FRP).

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: Nicolle Rager, National Science Foundation

Two new laboratory breakthroughs are poised to dramatically improve how plastics are made by assembling molecular chains more quickly and with less waste. Using such environmentally friendly substances as vitamin C or pure water, the two approaches present attractive alternatives to the common plastic manufacturing technique called free radical polymerization (FRP).

Related Articles


"The methods both present novel and complementary ways to dramatically improve efficiency, product control, and cost for the polymer industry," said Andy Lovinger, the National Science Foundation program director who oversees funds for the two projects. "Each of these approaches could have a very significant impact on polymer manufacturing."

Plastics are polymers, long, potentially complex, molecule chains crafted from an array of smaller chemical units. Using FRP, chemical engineers can create the right plastic for a range of applications, such as a specific trim for a car door or soft foam for a pillow.

For some plastics, the building-block molecules do not easily link together. To surmount this problem, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., devised a process called atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), which provides creative ways to coax the chemical subunits into chains. However, this method comes with certain costs, such as the need for a copper catalyst that can become unwanted waste.

Now, the Carnegie Mellon researchers have discovered that adding vitamin C, glucose, or other electron-absorbing agents to the ATRP process can reduce the amount of copper catalyst by a factor of 1000. Because the catalyst often needs to be removed from the end products, less copper means far less waste and drastically reduced removal costs. Mass manufacturing could become more affordable for a range of items such as advanced sensors, drug delivery systems, paint coatings, and video displays.

The research is described in a paper in the Oct. 17, 2006, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

At the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), researchers are using a different approach to improve FRP. Called single electron transfer-living radical polymerization, the new method relies upon relatively low-energy reactions, uses elemental copper (copper metal, as opposed to copper in a chemical solution) as a catalyst to limit byproducts and allows manufacturers to use one of the most environmentally friendly solvents in the arsenal, water. The entirely new method of polymerization builds upon existing mechanisms to craft large molecules very quickly.

The UPenn researchers presented their findings in the online Journal of the American Chemical Society on Oct. 5, 2006.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Vitamin C And Water Not Just Healthy For People -- Healthy For Plastics, Too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061025181153.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2006, October 26). Vitamin C And Water Not Just Healthy For People -- Healthy For Plastics, Too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061025181153.htm
National Science Foundation. "Vitamin C And Water Not Just Healthy For People -- Healthy For Plastics, Too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061025181153.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Robot dogs are the perfect pet for some in Japan who go to repairmen-turned-vets when their pooch breaks down - while a full Buddhist funeral ceremony awaits those who don&apos;t make it. Duration: 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Forensic science, which has fascinated generations with its unravelling of gruesome crime mysteries, is being put under the microscope in an exhibition of real criminal investigations in London. Duration: 00:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins