With a global production of 150 million metric tons in 2013, polyolefins represent the largest class of synthetic polymers. Today, the industry uses a costly, time-consuming, “one catalyst, one material” trial-and-error approach to developing new polymers. Precision Polyolefins (PPL) intends to change the status quo by establishing a novel “one catalyst, many materials” paradigm for rapid discovery and product development of new polyolefins.
Chemicals & Materials
Chameleon-Like Material Changes Color On Demand; New Genes for an Old Microbe Make Statins Cheaper; A Sweet Approach to Breaking Down Cellulose; New Catalyst Pushes Lignin Up on the Value Chain; and more.
Thermoelectric materials hold promise as a means to recover waste heat from automobile exhaust, power plants, and other systems. Their use, however, is limited by low efficiency. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a process that combines nanostructuring, compositional control, and ppm-level impurity doping. ThermoAura, Inc., a start-up company co-founded by the researchers, has scaled up this process to manufacture high-performance thermoelectrics with tunable properties.
To provide guidance and disseminate reactivity data, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in conjunction with partnering companies and technical associations, developed the Chemical Reactivity Worksheet (CRW). The free software ( http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/reactivityworksheet ) allows CPI professionals to review the reactivity hazards of thousands of individual chemicals, as well as predict the consequence of mixing chemical substances. Since its release in March 2013, the CRW Version 3 (CRW3) has been downloaded approximately 80,000 times.
Cheap and Abundant Potassium Outperforms Precious Metal Catalyst; Engineering Bioethanol without the Food Gap; Supercomputers Identify Optimal Zeolites; Synthetic Biology Pushes Gene Therapy Forward; and more.
Pop-Up Method Transforms 2D Materials into 3D Objects; Digging in the Dirt Uncovers a New Antibiotic; Algorithm Predicts Bacteria Countermoves; An Organic Approach to Controlled Polymerization; and more.
Every year, millions of patients suffer bone fractures that require surgical implants. Many of these patients face painful, costly secondary operations to remove these nonabsorbable implants, which are typically made of titanium or stainless steel...
Robert McTamaney, Kirk Richardson
The Materials Technology Institute’s (MTI) recent Refiners Roundtable meeting included discussions on (among other topics) internal investigations into causes of significant failures and ways to improve process safety. Here are the top ten things your company should be doing.
Fossil Fuels Inspire Clean-Hydrogen Catalyst; Organic Solar Cells Heat Up; Biomass Waste Gets Upgraded; New Technique Puts Catalysts on the Right Track; and more.
AIChE’s Initial Placement Survey: Where is the Class of 2014?; Producing More Ethanol with Less-Sensitive Microbes; Stretchable Patch Provides First-Class Health Monitoring; New Drug Capsule Takes the Ouch Out of Injections; Hybrid Device Combines a Solar Cell and a Battery.
Tiny Assembly Line Builds Organic Molecules One Side Group at a Time; Engineered Microbes Synthesize Bio-Propane; Buckyballs Boost Organic Solar Cell Efficiency; Masquerade Ball: Squid Skin Inspires a New Material; A Microbial Approach to Pain Management; Phase Change: Liquid Battery for Grid-Scale Storage; and more.
Today’s modern lifestyle demands highly functional products — from water-wicking fabrics and age-defying beauty products to patient-specific medicines and high-tech electronics — many of which rely on polymers. In turn, to meet these demands, manufacturers are asking for the ability to design and produce polymers with precise control over composition and architecture. Such sophisticated control, however, is not possible with the dominant incumbent technology, free-radical polymerization. Thanks to a process developed by Carnegie Mellon Univ. spin-out ATRP Solutions, creating the perfect polymer with exactly the right composition, size, and shape just got much easier.
Many industrial plants currently operating around the world have already surpassed their design life expectancies. Despite the challenges they face, such as corrosion and new regulations, these operations continue to be productive. To maintain the status quo and continue operation, plant managers need to keep a watchful eye on every aspect of the facility, from inspection and maintenance programs to the bottom line. Of course, plant safety and the environment, both of which can rise to the top of an aging plant’s list of concerns, are always on their minds.
The Science Behind the Breakthrough Ebola Treatment; Polymers Crystallize into Zeolite-Like Structures; Magnetic Attraction: New Material Guides Fluid Flow; MoS2 Pushes Graphene Aside for Fast DNA Sequencing; and more.
The success of many emerging technologies hinges on the discovery of new materials that exhibit a combination of desired properties. Identification, synthesis, and fabrication of suitable materials for these applications remain challenging, relying on resource-intensive exploratory science. A better approach might be to begin with the target macroscopic properties in mind and then systematically narrow the list of possible material precursors and synthetic methods through an optimization technique.
Stephen Hung, Anthony Y. Ku
Some materials are more vulnerable to supply disruptions than others. Identify these materials and implement strategies to address challenges related to them.
New Materials Combine Ultralight Weight with Ultrahigh Strength; A Breakthrough for Redox Flow Batteries; Carbon Nanotubes Catalyze Inexpensive Hydrogen; Diabetes Microchip Is as Good as Gold; and more.
Crunching the Numbers on Grid-Scale Storage; Microbes Convert Waste into Electricity; Solar Cells Make the Right Connection; Engineered Tissue Mingles with Blood Vessels; and more.
Nanoparticles Detect Sulfur Content in Crude Oil; Putting Waste Heat to Work; New Process Prints Personalized Drugs; EPA to Cut CO2 from Power Plants; Microbes Convert Biodiesel Waste into Valuable Chemicals
Zeolites are widely used in the chemical process industries as catalysts and adsorbents. While the unique pore structure of zeolites is beneﬁcial, many long-standing challenges in catalysis, adsorption, and membrane separations, as well as in nontraditional applications in energy storage and electronic and optical materials, cannot be met with the currently available porous materials.
Polymer and polymer-lined equipment has become more common in the chemical process industries (CPI) due to its cost-effective corrosion resistance in severe chemical service. Fluoropolymer-lined steel, high-density polyethylene (HDPE)-lined steel, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are examples of materials used for tanks, vessels, and other CPI equipment. Economic considerations demand that the life of this equipment be extended as long as is safely possible.
Plastics with a Circulatory System for Regeneration; A Smart Hydrogel Never Overstays its Welcome; Nanoparticle Drugs Deliver 1-2-3 Punch; and more
Margaret W. Hunt
Although corrosion resistance is of paramount importance, many factors must be considered when selecting materials of construction. Follow this four-step process to identify the appropriate material for your application.
Stick-On Health Tracker Twists, Stretches, and Bends; No Corn Needed: Ethanol Is Produced from CO; Engineered Bacteria Turn Switchgrass into Jet Fuel; Reversing Evolution Promises Cheaper Pharmaceuticals; and more.
How Well Are We Preparing ChE Students for Industry?; Climate FAQs: Science Academies Answer 20 Questions; Electronic Shrink Wrap Conforms to a Beating Heart; Biomass and Sunlight Cooperate to Produce Electricity; and more.
Insulating materials developed for the aerospace industry may soon gain broader acceptance in the chemical process industries (CPI), thanks in part to a Materials Technology Institute (MTI) project. CPI companies are beginning to consider the use of...
Silicon Anode Gets a Fruity Makeover; New Anode Provides a Home for Plus-Sized Na+ Ions; A Flicker of Hope for Nonflammable Li-Ion Batteries; Bio-Inspired Glass Is Bendable; and more.
A process designed to lower the cost of magnesium metal, making it competitive with aluminum, has been an industry goal for over a century. Although magnesium metal makes up millions of today’s lightweight cell phone and laptop cases, its persistently high cost (twice that of aluminum today) has impeded broad, high-volume use in other areas, including the automobile industry. This could soon change, thanks to researchers at INFINIUM, based in Natick, MA, who have developed a low-cost, energy-efficient, zero-emissions process for making this lightweight, strong metal.
Harmless Virus Helps Assemble Li-O2 Cathode for Batteries; A Sticky Solution for Tissue Engineering; Biopatch Catalyzes Bone Regeneration; Shape-Shifting Material Heats Up; and more
Made-to-Order Materials Move Forward; 3D Photonic Crystal Stands Up to the Heat; Battery Electrode Acquires Self-Healing Power; GHG Emissions Decline as Power Plants Switch to Natural Gas; and more.
Genetically Engineered Yeast Consume Toxic Byproduct; New Device Performs Double Duty; Simulations Shine Light on Future Solar Materials; Closing the Voltage Gap; and more.
As chemical processing plants and related facilities age, they typically develop problems with corrosion. Allowing deterioration to progress until a piece of equipment needs to be discarded and replaced — called the “run to failure” option — can be...
Electronic Skin Lights Up When Touched; Nature-Inspired Windows Cool Themselves Down; First Commercial Production of Cellulosic Biofuel Begins; Water-Splitting Process Produces H2 Isothermally; and more
Hot Off the Press: The World’s First 3D-Printed Battery; Nonmetal Compound Catalyzes CO2-to-Methanol Reaction; Iron Catalyst Gives Hydrogenation a Green Makeover; and more
Inkjet-Printed Graphene Rolls Out; UV Treatment Improves Membrane Selectivity; Additive Sweetens the Prospects for Organic Electronics; Protective Coating Connects Electronics and Living Tissue; and more.
Risk-based inspection (RBI) technology has revolutionized the Chemical process industries' (CPI) approach to plant inspection by enabling improvements in safety and production while reducing costs.
Artiﬁcial Organs Hot Off the Press; Biofuel Byproducts and Concrete Mix It Up; Squid Inspires Material for Medical Implants; Polymer Chains Line Up to Provide High Performance; Ribbons of VO2 and Graphene Enable Ultrafast Batteries; and more.
News Feature: Graphene Marches Down a Long Road to Commercialization A Stretchable, Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery Makes its Debut Defects Strengthen Magnesium Alloys Gold Lights the Way to Quantum-Dot Solar Cells Japan Taps into Fire Ice A Phase-...
Leaks in fluid-containing castings, such as pumps and valves, present major problems for chemical processing plants. To address this issue, the Materials Technology Institute (MTI) funded a casting quality prediction project aimed at developing a...
Color-Shifting Fibers Take their Lead from Nature; Nanocapsules Target Cancer Cells without Harming Healthy Ones ; Graphene Straightens Out with Some Help from Copper; Silicon Made Easy for Batteries; and more.
Now Available: High-Performance Carbon Nanotube Fibers; Nanowire-Based Solar Cell Achieves Record Performance; Fireflies Share Their Light Tricks with LEDs; Tissue Adhesives Are Inspired by the Prickly Porcupine; New Coating Shields Against Nearly All Liquids; and more.
I like to think of myself as an engineer with an ability to bring various disciplines together to tackle tough challenges,” says Narayan Ramesh, Associate R&D Director at Dow Solar, and recipient of AIChE’s inaugural Industrial Progress Award...
Jesse F. Goellner
Development of U.S. shale gas resources will require expansion of infrastructure assets ranging from roads and rails to pipelines and seaports to power-generation plants and ethane crackers, and more.
Global Relationships Take Center Stage at the 2012 Annual Meeting; No Boiling Needed: Nanoparticles Convert Sunlight into Steam; Hydrogen Power Goes Mobile; Carbon Nanotubes Team Up with Graphene; New Process Brings Bendable Electronics Closer to Reality; and more.
Users of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) in the chemical process industries (CPI) have long recognized the limitations of the test protocol currently used to determine material compatibility, ASTM C581, Standard Practice for Determining Chemical...
Oxide Catalysts Get Selective; New Catalyst Challenges Platinum; Quick-Release Tape Peels with Ease; Electronic Skin Mimics the Human Epidermis
Magic Act: Electronics Disappear into their Surroundings; New Material Boasts World-Record Efficiency; Brain Cancer Studies Point to a Bio-Based Route to Nylon; Nickel Misbehaves in Li-ion Batteries, Solar Energy Gets Mixed Up
New Battery Takes Charge of its Power; Nanomaterial Reversibly Stores Hydrogen; Nanoparticles Sneak Past the Brain’s Armor ; and more
Sujata K. Bhatia, M.D., P.E.
A new class of implantable medical materials — constructed from naturally derived and renewably sourced polymers — is poised to transform clinical medicine.
Slippery Surface Is Too Slick for Bacterial Films; New Materials Put the Brakes on Infection; ITO Flexes Its Muscles; Control Wrinkles with this Simple Method; and more
T. Kevin Swift
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has launched a new set of indexes covering nearly 30 segments of the U.S. specialty chemicals market. (The first, which dealt with plastic additives, was discussed in the July issue, p. 13.) This is the first set...
In the wake of the mid-20th century emergence of the oil-based global chemical industry and the rise of Europe as an International market force, Spain's chemical industry has become modern and competitive.
An all-in-one reference combining hydrodynamic theory with drilling applications for the design, planning, and optimization of drilling operations Hydromechanical processes underlie the majority of technology operations in drilling and present a crucial concern as the pace and depth of drilling...
Updates Include: The Natural Gas Debate Continues Smart Material Stays Cool in the Heat Firefly-Semiconductor Hybrid Lights Up Ionic Liquid Improves Hydrogen-Producing Catalyst One-Pot Synthesis Yields Zeolites at Bargain Prices High-Carbon Diet...
Joseph S. Alford, P.E.
Automation can pay large dividends in the form of reduced process cycle times, lower operational costs, and more-consistent processes for manufacturing high-quality pharmaceutical products.
Daniel G. Loffler
Age and life are not suitable parameters to compare catalyst performance. The proper ones are the rate of reaction and the rate of deactivation.
Robert T Jacobsen
Sampling is the key to determining the precious-metals content of spent catalysts, and ultimately the value of the metals.
This faculty directory lists the contact information of all the faculty members, placement administrators, and student organizations of almost 500 worldwide universities and technical institutes offering chemical engineering curricula. This offers a comprehensive reference tool that is unique and...
B. G. Swanson, M. F. San Martín, G. V. Barbosa-Cánovas
Today's savvy consumers want processed foods to look freshly prepared, while still meeting all safety requirements. Conventional thermal treatments are inadequate to fulfill this demand. New nonthermal techniques, such as pulsed-electric fields, are...
An understanding of the basic approach to creating vaccines, as well as how vaccines confer immunity, is essential to developing safe and cost-effective formulations.
Sterilization-in-place (SIP) systems are essential to the operation of many pharmaceutical and biotech facilities. This article reviews design considerations, selection criteria and performance expectations for control valves, regulators, isolation...
High temperatures, stresses, and the presence of elements such as oxygen, sulfur, or the halogens can add up to trouble. Here is how to screen candidate alloys for such service.
Specialty metals should be considered for processes that push beyond the corrosion limits of steel. New composites and surface alloy technologies expand the options for defending against corrosion.
Robert T Jacobsen
When selecting a precious metals refiner, it’s important to first understand the basics of sampling, assaying and environmental issues, as well as the concept of leasing metal.
Girish Malhotra, P.E.
Chemical engineers could hold the key that helps pharmaceutical companies — facing pressure to control rising drug prices and competition from generics — reduce their manufacturing costs.
John G. Aunins, Michael E. Laska, Jose M. Otero, Bret R. Phillips
Fundamental chemical and bioprocess engineering principles and tools will be key to developing and manufacturing vaccines and expanding their availability around the world.