Research by a team at Northumbria University’s School of Applied Sciences, led by computational chemist Dr Marcus Durrant, has developed a radical approach to the development of new catalysts - the vital components found in the manufacture of many of the world’s most commonly used products.
Major advances in software and computer technology over the past five years have enabled Durrant’s team to develop a new computerised approach for designing catalysts, which previously required labour intensive and costly experimental methods for their development.
Dr Durrant is recognised as a leading light in UK Computational Chemistry. His specialist interest is in biologically inspired computerised chemistry – bringing together evolutionary biology with computational chemistry, which uses quantum chemistry calculations. His radical new research was published in a European Chemistry Journal earlier this year.
Dr Durrant says: “Catalysts are used right across industry and are essential in drug production and the production of plastics for example. However, speeding up the process and developing new catalysts has previously been a hit and miss and laborious task.
“Traditional catalyst development involves an experimental approach in which chemists must identify potential catalysts, prepare them by chemical synthesis and measure their catalytic properties experimentally. This method requires a significant amount of experimental knowledge, time and money in order to identify promising lead compounds.”
Now Dr Durrant and his team have joined forces with Procter & Gamble to trial their new approach on real industrial problems.
Using the new technique computer-generated programmes will do battle, ensuring the survival of the fittest catalysts. 2,000 days worth of computer time will be used to complete the project for P&G, with over 500 complex calculations, each taking up to five days to complete. This radical new approach is ideal for tackling problems where more traditional experimental chemistry has struggled to find the answers.
Dr. Mike Addison, Business Development Manager at P&G says: "We were delighted when Northumbria approached us with a very exciting research and development proposal to help us identify new catalysts for our products. Northumbria's approach to catalyst development is entirely computer-based and has the potential to identify particularly promising structures behind which to invest synthesis effort. If successful the approach offers a major advance in catalyst development.
“P&G is committed to serving the needs of the worlds’ consumers now and for generations to come. Catalysts are particularly important to achieving many of the transformations consumers need and want in a sustainable way, it is therefore entirely fitting for P&G to be involved in this cutting edge project.”
The partnership between Northumbria University and Procter & Gamble has been facilitated by Northumbria Commercial Enterprises, the University’s specialist division responsible for matching academic expertise with industrial need.
Graham Hopson, Commercialisation Manager at Northumbria Commercial Enterprises says: “We are delighted to have facilitated this important partnership between the University and P&G. We offer a range of services to business clients and this is a clear example of how ground breaking academic research can be used to potentially tackle real industrial problems.”
Katrina Alnikizil | alfa
UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water
21.11.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology
Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.
Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences
21.11.2018 | Medical Engineering
21.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy