Process Eliminates Solvents


When chemists want to combine two or more organic materials, they normally use a solvent to create a reaction that results in the desired compound. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory in Iowa have found a way to combine organic materials in solid state without using solvents.

The method uses high-energy ball-milling, a well-known process for producing and modifying metal alloys. Materials to be processed are placed in a hardened steel vial along with steel balls. The vial is vigorously shaken and mechanical energy transferred into the system alters the crystallinity of the solids and provides mass transfer, eventually combining the materials into new compounds.

Researchers said the new solvent-free process means environmentally harmful solvents, such as benzene, dichloromethane and others, can be removed from many of the chemical processes used to produce millions of consumer and industrial products.

United Press International

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