New catalyst could improve production of glass alternatives

Aug 21, 2012
UO chemists' catalyst could improve production of glass alternatives

(Phys.org) -- University of Oregon chemists have identified a catalyst that could dramatically reduce the amount of waste made in the production of methyl methacrylate, a monomer used in the large-scale manufacturing of lightweight, shatter-resistant alternatives to glass such as Plexiglas.

David Tyler, Charles J. and M. Monteith Jacobs Professor of Chemistry, will present his findings Tuesday at the national meeting of the , Aug. 19-23 in Philadelphia, Penn.

of methyl methacrylate was 4 million metric tons in 2010. Each kilogram produced also yields 2.5 kilograms of ammonium hydrogen sulfate, a corrosive that is not usable. Disposal of ammonium hydrogen sulfate is extremely energy intensive, consuming 2 percent of the energy used in Texas annually.

Tyler’s team has identified a catalyst that doesn’t produce ammonium hydrogen sulfate. The university is securing a provisional patent for the catalyst.

“There were some really fundamental chemical reasons why previous catalysts didn’t work with this process,” Tyler said. “We’ve found a catalyst that overcomes all of those objections.”

With the identification of a working catalyst, Tyler will focus his research on how to accelerate the conversion to methyl methacrylate. The industrial standard for a practical catalyst is conversion of acetone cyanohydrin into methyl methacrylate in the span of a minute or two, Tyler said.

Explore further: Towards controlled dislocations

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Metal particle generates new hope for H2 energy

Jun 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Tiny metallic particles produced by University of Adelaide chemistry researchers are bringing new hope for the production of cheap, efficient and clean hydrogen energy.

Novel chemical reaction

Apr 16, 2012

(Phys.org) -- A chemical reaction reported by University of Delaware assistant professor Donald Watson and his laboratory group has set the chemistry world abuzz for its creativity and potential utility. 

Recommended for you

Triplet threat from the sun

5 hours ago

The most obvious effects of too much sun exposure are cosmetic, like wrinkled and rough skin. Some damage, however, goes deeper—ultraviolet light can damage DNA and cause proteins in the body to break down ...

Towards controlled dislocations

Oct 20, 2014

Crystallographic defects or irregularities (known as dislocations) are often found within crystalline materials. Two main types of dislocation exist: edge and screw type. However, dislocations found in real ...

Chemists tackle battery overcharge problem

Oct 17, 2014

Research from the University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry will help batteries resist overcharging, improving the safety of electronics from cell phones to airplanes.

Surface properties command attention

Oct 17, 2014

Whether working on preventing corrosion for undersea oil fields and nuclear power plants, or for producing electricity from fuel cells or oxygen from electrolyzers for travel to Mars, associate professor ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Squirrel
not rated yet Aug 21, 2012
According to Wikipedia it "can be further neutralized with ammonia to form ammonium sulfate, a valuable fertilizer."

I wonder if its "extremely energy intensive" disposal that consumes 2 percent of the energy used in Texas annually is used to create that extra ammonia.