WASHINGTONKrzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences and University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, will receive the 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a ceremony at 5:30 p.m., Monday, June 22 at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Matyjaszewski, the second Carnegie Mellon professor to receive the award, will be recognized in the academic category for the development of an environmentally low-impact form of Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP), a widely used method for preparation of functional polymers.
The EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge promotes research and development of less-hazardous alternatives to existing technologies in an effort to reduce or eliminate waste, particularly hazardous waste, in industrial production.
"Approximately 400 billion pounds of synthetic polymers are produced each year. Often, hazardous chemicals are used to produce these important industrial products," Matyjaszewski said. "We've been able to use environmentally friendly chemicals, such as vitamin C, to reduce the level of catalyst employed in ATRP by a factor of over 1,000. This both enhances the scope of the procedure and reduces the environmental impact of polymer fabrication."
Developed at Carnegie Mellon by Matyjaszewski in 1995, ATRP is among the most effective and most commonly used methods of controlled radical polymerization (CRP). It allows scientists to easily form polymers by piecing together their component parts in a controlled fashion. Assembling polymers in such a manner has allowed scientists to create a wide range of polymers with highly specific, tailored functionalities. This technology also allows for the production of "smart" materials that can respond to altered environments, such as changes in pressure, acidity, light exposure or other variables. Polymers created using ATRP have been used for coati
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Carnegie Mellon University