Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pigment discovery expanding into new colors

 Chemists at Oregon State University have discovered that the same crystal structure they identified two years ago to create what may be the world's best blue pigment can also be used with different elements to create other colors, with significant potential in the paint and pigment industries.

First on the list, appropriately, is a brilliant orange pigment -- appropriate for the OSU Beavers whose team colors are black and orange, and a university in a "Powered by Orange" advancement campaign.

But the broader potential for these pigments, researchers say, is the ability to tweak essentially the same chemical structure in slightly different ways to create a whole range of new colors in pigments that may be safer to produce, more durable and more environmentally benign than many of those that now exist.

Among the possibilities, they say, are colors that should be of interest to OSU's athletic rival 40 miles down the road at the University of Oregon -- yellow and green.

"The basic crystal structure we're using for these pigments was known before, but no one had ever considered using it for any commercial purpose, including pigments," said Mas Subramanian, the Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science in the OSU Department of Chemistry.

"All of these colors should share the same characteristics of being extremely stable, durable, and resistant to heat and acid," he said. "And they are based on the same crystal structure, so minor adjustments to the technology will produce very different colors and very high quality pigments."

OSU has already applied for a patent on this technology, samples are now being tested by private industry, and the latest findings were published recently in Inorganic Chemistry, a journal of the American Chemical Society. The research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.

This invention evolved from what was essentially an accidental discovery in 2009 in an OSU lab, where Subramanian was exploring some manganese oxides for interesting electronic properties. At one stage of the process, when a sample had been heated to almost 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the compound turned a vivid blue.

It was found that this chemistry had interesting properties that affects the absorption of light and consequently its color. So Subramanian and his research team, including OSU professor emeritus Art Sleight, quickly shifted their electronics research into what may become a revolution in the paint and pigment industry. Future applications may range from inkjet printers to automobiles or even ordinary house paint.

The work created, at first, a beautiful blue pigment, which had properties that had eluded humans for thousands of years, dating back to the Han dynasty in China, ancient Egyptians and Mayan culture. Most previous blue pigments had various problems with toxicity, durability and vulnerability to heat or acid. Some are carcinogenic, others emit cyanide.

Expanding that research, the scientists further studied this unusual "trigonal-bypyramidal coordination" of crystalline structure, atoms that are combined in a certain five-part coordinated network. The initial blue color in the pigment came from the manganese used in the compound. The scientists have now discovered that the same structure will produce other colors simply by substituting different elements.

"The new orange pigment is based on iron, and we might use copper and titanium for a green pigment," Subramanian said. "Yellow and deep brown should be possible, and we should be able to make a new red pigment. A lot of red pigments are now made with cadmium and mercury, which can be toxic.

"These should all be very attractive for commercial use," he said.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations ) from materials provided by Oregon State University.

Journal Reference:

Peng Jiang, Jun Li, Arthur W. Sleight, M. A. Subramanian. New Oxides Showing an Intense Orange Color Based on Fe3 in Trigonal-Bipyramidal Coordination. Inorganic Chemistry, 2011; 50 (13): 5858 DOI: 10.1021/ic200535c

BASF to build world-scale production site for customer specific antioxidant blends

07-22-2011: BASF will significantly expand its presence in the Middle East region by building a state-of-the-art plant for customer specific antioxidant blends (CSB) in Bahrain. CSBs are key additives for the production of polymers for the plastics industry, especially for the Middle East region.

Construction of the new facility will start in September 2011. It will become one of the world’s largest CSB plants with an annual capacity of about 16,000 metric tons. The new plant will be operational already by end of 2012.

This is a major investment of BASF in the plastic additives business following its acquisition of Ciba in 2009 and manifests BASF’s strong commitment to this industry. Hans W. Reiners, President of BASF’s Performance Chemicals division, explained this strategic move: “We are very happy to establish a state-of-the-art CSB production site close to our customers in this fast growing region. This is backed by our powerful production network of antioxidants in Asia, Europe and the Americas making us worldwide one of the leading partners to the plastic processing industry with a product portfolio unmatched in terms of broadness and quality. BASF is very much committed to further strengthen its plastic additives business ranging from antioxidants
and lightstabilizers to pigments.”

This new plant will come in addition to the existing manufacturing agreement for CSBs with Astra Polymer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, making BASF the largest CSB supplier in this region. This facility will be well positioned to serve the fast growing polymer market in the Middle East with special focus on key customers in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), one of the fastest growing regions for the production of polyolefin resins worldwide.

“The expected growth of the plastic polymer production in Middle East will get an additional push by increasing efforts to grow the plastics downstream market locally. As BASF, we are committed to accompany such growth with technical solutions and flexible supply patterns which are only possible as a local supplier,” said John Frijns, Senior Vice President Plastics Additives Europe/EAWA. “This will help us to deliver high quality products tailor-made to the demand of the industry. Furthermore, the proximity to our main customers will ensure a flexible and reliable supply.”

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Thermo Fisher Scientific Presents $35,000 Distinguished Research Award to Dr. Judit Villen, University of Washington

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. announced that it has presented Dr. Judit Villen of the University of Washington, Seattle, with the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) 2011 Research Award of $35,000. Sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific for more than 20 years and administered by ASMS, the annual award recognizes and supports breakthrough academic research by young scientists in the field of mass spectrometry (MS). The award has propelled many past recipients to leadership positions in MS research. Dr. Villen received the award during a ceremony at the Wells Fargo Theatre in Denver during the 2011 ASMS conference.

An independent and anonymous ASMS committee chose Dr. Villen based on her research on the MS-based analysis of protein phosphorylation in single cells. Her goal is to understand the complex cellular signaling networks that impact the expression of cancers such as human breast cancer. The early-stage research, which the award will support, focuses on the development of a novel interface for single-cell MS using a Thermo Scientific Orbitrap hybrid mass spectrometer system. Dr. Villen will use her award to purchase laboratory supplies and equipment and, if necessary, to pay graduate student or supplement post-doctoral salaries.

“Until now, MS studies measured proteins based on the average of millions of cells, completely missing the variations between individual cells that can have substantial consequences in signaling cell growth, proliferation and differentiation, all of which play roles in the expression of diseases such as cancer,” said Dr. Ian Jardine, vice president of global R&D, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Through her early-stage effort to develop an interface for single-cell mass spectrometry analysis, Dr. Villen will launch an exciting new era of single-cell proteomics.”

Dr. Villen joined the University of Washington as an assistant professor in the Genome Sciences Department in June 2010. Her accomplishments include contributions to numerous scientific publications, invitations to speak at meetings and conferences such as ASMS, and industry patents. Dr. Villen also received the 2009 Howard Termin Pathway to Independence Award in Cancer Research from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


HIVOCOMP aims to develop new materials that will bring carbon fibre composites to automotive applications

2011 marked the start of an ambitious European collaborative research project that focuses on advancing the state-of-the-art of composite materials technology to bring it closer to mass-production for automotive applications.

HIVOCOMP will last in total 4 years and intends to significantly speed up the composites production process, a key factor for the establishment of plastics in the commercial vehicles market.

Project partners include three large European automotive OEMs (VW, Daimler, CRF), suitcase manufacturer Samsonite, four highly specialised suppliers in the field of composite materials and their applications, and six leading universities that constitute the cutting edge of composite materials research in Europe.

HIVOCOMP will develop further two material systems that show unique promise for costeffective high-volume production of high performance carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts: advanced polyurethane (PU) thermoset matrix materials and thermoplastic PP-based and PA6-based self-reinforced polymer composites with continuous carbon fibre reinforcements.

The performance, production cost and recyclability of new CFRP materials systems will be thoroughly tested and benchmarked to ensure the results reach and exceed cost, safety and environmental targets. Validated demonstrator parts will be produced in 2013, ensuring the large-scale societal impact of the innovations.

The project puts primary focus on the passenger cars, including hybrid and fully electric platforms now entering the market, but it has identified spin-off applications in other transport-related sectors as well.

HIVOCOMP (Advanced materials enabling High-Volume road transport applications of lightweight structural COMPosite parts) launched officially in October 2010 and is funded under the topic NMP-2009-2.5-1 “Light high-performance composites” of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Project coordinator is Prof. Ignaas Verpoest of Katholieke University Leuven.