Chemical Engineering Success.

Discussion in 'General Science' started by BR-549, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. BR-549

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2013
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  2. wayneh

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    Surprising. I spent my career in the enzyme industry, so it surprises me to hear of such a radical change in a catalyst. This will keep a lot of people busy trying to understand it and apply the technology elsewhere.
     
  3. Brian Hilt

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    Feb 17, 2015
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    Thanks For Sharing this news,,,
     
  4. alfacliff

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    Dec 13, 2013
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    I dont know why they are concerned with the cost of the catalysts, catalysts are not used up in their reactions.
     
  5. BR-549

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    The cost and scarcity of catalysts is what is driving this research.

    Also consider the recovery and maintenance cost.

    Plus impurity and contamination problems.

    Imagine the cost of securing a couple hundred pounds of platinum or another high cost material in an industrial setting 24/7.

    I have been to several industrial sites where security for gold and platinum catalyst was by far their greatest expense and hassle.

    This kind of research and discovery is real meat for many fields of science. Catalytic action has been a mystery for a long time. Maybe this will help us understand what is truly going on.

    I'm sure many scientist will look into this. It might ring someones bell.
     
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  6. cmartinez

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  7. GopherT

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    I have. I am very amused that the OP called it an engineering success when no engineers were involved. Professor Grubbs is a Nobel-Prize winning chemist from Caltech (and Michigan State before that). I've had dinner with him and discussed polymers and catalysts. When I met him he was a really relaxed hippy from the day. I've heard he is a bit more tense since he commercialized some of his catalysts ("the grubbs catalyst" and others) through a company he started.

    The chemical transformation they executed in the referenced paper was not very common (aromatic carbon to silicon). Platinum is used in these transforamations and other methods are known. So little Pt is used that you can still buy these specialty silicones for under $10/kg and, interestingly, the price is likely $10 not because of the catalyst but because of the small volumes and high levels of tech service required to support customers that use these polymers.

    Stated above is a comment about, "who cares if it is a precious metal, it is a catalyst and gets re-used." True to some degree. Catalysts do not get consumed in a reaction like raw materials - they are not needed in stoichiometric quantities. However, removing them from the final product (polymers) is a bear so they are normally left in. For example, the titanium chloride/magnesium chloride/aluminum catalysts used in polypropylene and polyethylene are still in the milk bottle or car bumper.

    It will be interesting to see how this evolves. If this is a one-lucky shot in the dark, cool. If it can be applied to more and more transformations, more interesting. I will assure you, however, that reactions that use high volumes of catalysts have been looked at and looked at in the past 80 years. It is unlikely that a new, simple catalyst will be found. Oh, by the way, you might want to make note of the PP/PE catalysts mentioned above. The standard Ziegler/Natta Catalysts use Titanium chloride, magnesium chloride and triethylaluminum. Nothing precious about those. Reactive, corrosive and moisture sensitive but not rare.
     
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  8. cmartinez

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    Thank you for your very interesting opinion. And you're right, this was not an engineering achievement, but rather a scientific one. But oh well, although very different, I consider engineers and scientists like almost cousins... almost part of the same family...
     
  9. GopherT

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    Ther is just a certain (special) push and pull rivalry between chemists and chemical engineers that doesn't seem to have an equivalant (scientist/engineer rivalry) in other engineering disciplines. The winners are the scientists that think like engineers, or the engineers that bother to understand the science.
     
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