Acrylics current industrial process requires temperatures close to 232°C and releases harmful by-products, such as carbon dioxide
Researchers from the University of Connecticut have discovered a new energy efficient process to develop acrylic.
Acrylic compounds are made from a chemical reaction that creates a translucent liquid which dries to be a durable coating.
This is often used in the beauty sector especially in nail polishes.
Currently, in order to produce acrylics it requires temperatures of up to 232°C and releases harmful byproducts into the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide, ethylene and hydrogen cyanide.
However, this new process uses a porous catalyst made from manganese and oxygen, as well as mild temperatures, which can also be modified to avoid producing unwanted chemicals.
Catalysts are materials used to speed up reaction and often provide a surface for the molecules to sit on while they react with each other.
In this case, the pores fill that role, which are big enough for large molecules to fit inside.
This allows manganese atoms in the material to trade electrons with nearby oxygens, making it easier for reactions to take place.
Steve Suib, Director of the university’s Institute for Materials Science, said: “We hope this can be scaled up.
“We want to maximise yield, minimise temperature and make an even more active catalyst.”