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Plastic milkshakes
Written by Gizmo   
Thursday, 04 January 2007 09:16

Is there plastic in your milkshake?  Probably not, but we might one day be making plastics FROM your milkshakes.   Polymer chemist Chris Snively and Jochen Lauterbach, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Delaware have been researching a new class of polymers made from 1,2-disubstituted ethylenes, substances heretofor thought to be impossible to transform into polymers, the building-blocks of plastics (and a whole lot of other stuff, too).

The researchers have discovered a way to polymerize these ethylenes, which include several compounds found in many natural sources (such as cinnamon) or are are FDA-approved for use in fragrances and foods.  According to the scientists, one of the compounds is even found in milkshakes.

The research could have significant applications in the manufacture of plastic solar cells, or the production of microscopically thin polymer films for coating eletronic devices.

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