Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemist stitches up speedier chemical reactions

10.05.2010
New details about the Piers catalyst will help chemical industry improve products

Some people have streets named after them. Warren Piers, a chemistry professor at the University of Calgary, has a catalyst penned after him.

And in a paper published today in the online edition of Nature Chemistry, Piers and former graduate student Edwin van der Eide reveal the inner workings of the Piers catalyst at a molecular level of detail not previously available.

"These details are critical for the development of improved catalysts," says Piers, the paper's co-author and S. Robert Blair Professor of chemistry at the University of Calgary. "It will help us and others find new applications and improved reaction conditions for these catalysts."

A chemical catalyst is a molecule that speeds up a chemical reaction without being consumed in the reaction. Enzymes are nature's catalysts, but humankind has invented catalysts that improve and are often required to drive many commercially important chemical reactions.

Catalysts are so versatile that they are used in many chemical industries, ranging from commodity chemicals, those produced on a large scale, to fine chemicals, specialty products like pharmaceuticals, for example.

Catalysts allow companies to make products more economically (lower energy costs) and more selectively (less waste). The details revealed in this paper open the door to new products and materials, creating new companies and markets. One new application involves the production of biofuel hydrocarbon products from seed oils derived from plants.

The paper explores at a level of detail not seen before the inner workings of a chemical reaction called "olefin metathesis." If knitting a wool sweater, catalysts can be thought of as the knitting needles, while the particular stitches required to fashion the wool into a pattern can be viewed as the chemical reaction.

"When we apply this to chemistry, you could say that the stitches –olefin metathesis reactions– have been around for some time. Chemists have been working for decades to figure out which needles do the work most efficiently," says Piers, whose discovery of more efficient olefin metathesis catalysts is now connected with his name.

"The results of this paper are valuable because we now know important details about a significant reaction," he explains. "The olefin metathesis reaction provides an extremely versatile method to break and reform carbon-carbon bonds in materials used in the manufacture of chemical products."

Materia Inc., a Pasadena-based chemical technology company, has the first rights to further develop and commercialize Piers' technology, which is licensed through UTI. Materia was keen to add Piers' technology to their library of catalysts to make their portfolio more versatile.

The Piers catalyst is related to the Nobel Prize-winning family of catalysts known as the Grubbs catalyst, named for their discoverer Robert Grubbs of Caltech. The Piers system has unique chemical attributes that Materia is hoping to exploit in new applications. While not yet as widely used as the Grubbs catalyst, there is strong growth potential for the Piers catalyst due to its high reactivity.

Mechanistic insights into the ruthenium-catalysed diene ring-closing metathesis reaction by Edwin F. van der Eide and Warren E. Piers is published in Nature Chemistry at http://www.nature.com/nchem/index.html.

Leanne Yohemas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucalgary.ca

Further reports about: CHEMISTRY Materia Nature Immunology Nobel Prize chemical reaction chemist

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>