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Monday, 31 July 2017

BASF establishes new company to focus on 3D printing


BASF SE plans to establish a new group company, BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH, as of 1 September. This wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF New Business GmbH will be headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, at the site of InnovationLab GmbH.
It will focus on establishing and expanding the business with materials, system solutions, components and services in the field of 3D printing. The company will work closely with researchers and application engineers from BASF and external partners, such as universities and potential customers, in order to develop the right solutions for a wide array of requirements.
The new company’s customers will mainly be firms that want to use 3D printing for industrial production. Typical industries will include, for example, automotive, aerospace and consumer goods. In order to be able to develop and test a variety of solutions, BASF 3D Printing Solutions GmbH will take over and expand the 3D printing application technology centre in Heidelberg belonging to Deutsche Nanoschicht GmbH, a subsidiary of BASF New Business.
Read more: BASF establishes new company to focus on 3D printing

Shell shuts down Europe’s largest refinery after major fire


Royal Dutch Shell plc said that it has shut down Europe’s largest refinery in Rotterdam, the Netherlands after a fire at a high-voltage electricity switch station.
The fire that broke out at Shell Pernis has been extinguished. Pernis is the largest refinery in Europe with about sixty factories. Part of the refinery remains shut down because the electricity is cut. The fire was caused by short-circuiting in a high voltage station, the company said.
According to a security spokesman, the flames cover a wide area. This is due to the fact that the company flares out gases released by the refining of oil as part of the safety procedure.
There is no indication that harmful substances have been released. However, soot particles are being emitted into the air, it added.
It is not yet known when the entire refinery can be put back into operation.
Shell shuts down Europe’s largest refinery after major fire

Monsanto, Atomwise collaborate for new crop protection options


Monsanto Company and Atomwise, a biotechnology company have formed a unique research collaboration to increase the speed and probability of discovering and developing new crop protection products using artificial intelligence.
Atomwise develops artificial intelligence systems for molecular discovery. Through this research collaboration, Atomwise’s groundbreaking AtomNet technology will employ powerful deep learning algorithms and supercomputers to analyse millions of molecules for potential crop protection products.
Instead of the traditional trial-and-error and process of elimination to analyse tens of thousands of molecules, the AtomNet technology aims to streamline the initial phase of discovery by analysing how different molecules interact with one another.
AtomNet accelerates this process using deep learning to predict which molecules could have a positive effect in controlling harmful diseases or insects. The software teaches itself about molecular interactions by identifying patterns, similar to how artificial intelligence learns to recognize images.
Monsanto is the first company in the agriculture industry to partner with Atomwise. This collaboration complements Monsanto’s unique partnered approach to crop protection discovery.
“Discovering new solutions is critical, and this collaboration will help bring much-needed crop protection solutions to farmers faster,” said Jeremy Williams, Monsanto’s agricultural productivity innovations lead.
“By combining Atomwise’s sophisticated artificial intelligence systems with Monsanto’s ability to apply real-world validation through the integration of plant breeding, plant biotechnology, crop protection, ag biologicals and data science platforms, together we can develop technologies that support farmers as they work to grow better harvests, protect their crops and deliver more to society in the face of mounting environmental challenges,” added Williams.
Read more: Monsanto, Atomwise collaborate for new crop protection options

Arkema to double thiochemicals production in Malaysia



Arkema announced a project to double its methyl mercaptan production capacity at its Kerteh site in Malaysia.
This is in line to support the strong growth of the animal feed, petrochemical and refining markets in Asia and to strengthen its world leading position in high value-added sulphur derivatives.
Arkema will double its production capacity of methyl mercaptan, a sulfur-based intermediate that is key to the manufacture of methionine and other sulphur derivatives businesses. Annual growth of these markets is expected to exceed 5 percent in the coming years.
Arkema thus confirms its technological leadership in thiochemical (sulfur-based chemicals), processes and ambition to strengthen its world leading position in sulphur derivatives. Thiochemicals is based on high growth world markets such as animal nutrition, oil and gas, agrochemicals and speciality intermediates.
This project should come on stream in 2020 and will represent one of the main pillars of the group’s future growth.
Arkema to double thiochemicals production in Malaysia

Johnson Matthey develops technology that reduces emissions


Johnson Matthey has developed a new technology that reduces emissions from older buses, enabling people to breathe fresh and cleaner air.
Johnson Matthey's catalysts were installed in one-third of new vehicles worldwide, preventing 40 tonnes of potentially harmful emissions from entering the atmosphere every minute of the day.
Emission control systems, developed by Johnson Matthey and its partners, have already been installed in more than 1,000 London buses to enable them to meet increasingly stringent emissions targets. The process started with the retrofitting of 54 older buses for the London Olympics that were used to ferry passengers between sites.
These catalyst and filter systems are installed in the exhaust system of a vehicle, as close to its engine as possible in order to take advantage of the heat generated. They clean the exhaust the vehicle sends out into the atmosphere. A precious metal catalyst (usually containing platinum and palladium), converts harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water.
Read more: Johnson Matthey develops technology that reduces emissions

Agrium acquires Starpharma's agrochemical business for $26.4 mn


Agrium Inc (AGU), through its subsidiary Loveland Products Inc has closed on the acquisition of Starpharma Holdings Limited's agrochemical business for Australian dollar–A$35 million ($26.4 million).
Starpharma’s agrochemical business is focused on development of its proprietary Priostar dendrimer polymer technology portfolio.
The acquisition is comprised of key intellectual property, as well as a small number of dedicated staff based in Melbourne, Australia. These assets will support Agrium's innovation and technology strategy through the ability to continue providing unique proprietary products that address existing and emerging grower challenges.
Read more: Agrium acquires Starpharma's agrochemical business for $26.4 mn

New light-activated catalyst that turns CO2 into fuel


Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a light-activated material that can chemically convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide without generating unwanted byproducts.
The achievement marks a significant step forward in developing technology that could help generate fuel and other energy-rich products using a solar-powered catalyst while mitigating levels of a potent greenhouse gas.
When exposed to visible light, the material, a “spongy” nickel organic crystalline structure, converted the CO2 in a reaction chamber exclusively into carbon monoxide(CO) gas, which can be further turned into liquid fuels, solvents, and other useful products.
The research is published in the journal Science Advances.
“We show a near 100 percent selectivity of CO production, with no detection of competing gas products like hydrogen or methane. That’s a big deal. In CO2 reduction, you want to come away with one product, not a mix of different things,” said Haimei Zheng, staff scientist in Berkeley Lab’s materials sciences division and co-corresponding author of the study.
In chemistry, reduction refers to the gain of electrons in a reaction, while oxidation is when an atom loses electrons. Among the well-known examples of CO2 reduction is in photosynthesis, when plants transfer electrons from water to carbon dioxide while creating carbohydrates and oxygen.
Read more: New light-activated catalyst that turns CO2 into fuel

Indian scientists use tiny bubbles to draw plastic circuits


Indian scientists have found a way to use micro-bubbles to draw complex plastic circuits with lasers, an advance that may lead to low-cost flexible electronic devices.
Solution-printed electronics is one of the fastest growing areas in the industry primarily due to its very low cost and flexibility, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Kolkata said.
It is mostly based on conducting plastics, that is doped to increase conductivity.
The process of synthesising, doping and designing circuits separately is often complex and time-consuming.
The research was published in the journal of Materials Chemistry C.
For the first time, scientists led by Ayan Banerjee and Soumyajit Roy from IISER Kolkata, have developed a simple and inexpensive technique to simultaneously synthesise and pattern conductive polymers on a glass surface in a matter of minutes.
They exposed a solution of charged metal oxide, known as soft oxometalate (SOM) and organic molecules in a glass chamber to optical tweezers - a tightly focused laser.
Absorbing the beam, oxometalate stuck to the chamber surface to form a microbubble around which the metal oxide and organic molecules assembled themselves to form conductive polymers.
Read more: Indian scientists use tiny bubbles to draw plastic circuits

Friday, 28 July 2017

European Commission raids ethylene purchasing companies




European Union (EU) antitrust regulators have raided several ethylene purchasing companies, including Swiss chemicals maker Clariant and US rival Celanese Corporation, over concerns the firms may have participated in a cartel.
Clariant confirmed the EU investigation, while Celanese said some of its units were being investigated. Ethylene is used to make various chemical and plastic products.
The European Commission said that the raids occurred on May 16 in several European Union countries. It did not name the companies involved.
"The companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices," the EU competition enforcer said in a statement.
Companies face fines up to 10 percent of their global turnover for breaching EU antitrust rules.

Clariant, Huntsman gives update on planned merger




Clariant (CLN) announced that its planned merger of equals with Huntsman Corporation (HUN) is on track, with key regulatory filings submitted for approval in US, EU and China.
The companies said that the preparations to create HuntsmanClariant, a leading global speciality chemicals company, are showing continued strong progress and are proceeding as planned with an unchanged closing targeted for December 2017/January 2018.
Clariant said that it has high confidence in meeting the synergy target in excess of $400m as well as the $25m tax saving target, combining both companies.
HuntsmanClariant has identified an additional organic sales revenues of around 2 percent per annum at approx. 20 percent EBITDA margin.
HuntsmanClariant's position as a leading global speciality chemicals company will further benefit from complementary R&D and technological expertise as well as shared knowledge in sustainability and cross-fertilization in innovation and technology capabilities. Highly complementary product portfolios creating production set-up and supply chain benefit opportunities in specific overlapping businesses.

Lubrizol launches new thermoplastic polyurethane for adhesive powders




The Lubrizol Corporation's engineered polymers business has launched a new Pearlbond thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) grade for adhesive powders, webs and films: Pearlbond 1160L.
Pearlbond 1160L complements Lubrizol engineered polymers' current high-crystalline offering for adhesive films and PVC co-extrusion.
Pearlbond 1160L is toluene-free (0 ppm) and can be converted into thermo-bonding films, webs and powder. It is a lightweight and environmentally friendly alternative to competing materials. With the addition of Pearlbond 1160L, Lubrizol now offers the choice of two solutions for adhesive formulators: high-melt strength Pearlbond 1160 and the new Pearlbond 1160L, which has a superior crystallization speed and higher wettability.
"Lubrizol offers a world-class portfolio of solvent-free polymers for hot melt adhesives. Pearlbond 1160L provides a gel-free, high-performing alternative that can be easily processed and offers new possibilities for stitch-free bonding and waterproofing adhesives in a variety of applications," said Jesus Santamaria, EMEAI business director for Estane engineered polymers.

Wacker presents new silicone rubber for household, automotive sectors




Wacker Chemie AG said that it will present its new Elastosil R plus 4350/55 solid silicone rubber. An outstanding property of this extrudable and addition-curing silicone grade is its high resistance to heat.
Elastosil R plus 4350/55 is a silicone rubber for formulating heat-resistant, addition-curing silicone elastomers. It reveals its properties to optimum effect in combination with heat stabilizers of the Elastosil Aux Stabilizer H series which are added to the base rubber. The type of stabilizer and the amount used have a significant influence on the thermal properties of the cured rubber. The silicone grade is easy to process in extruders.

Grace licenses UNIPOL technology to firm in Canada




W R Grace & Co (GRA) has contracted to license its UNIPOL PP process technology to Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corporation (CKPC), a 50/50 joint venture between Pembina Pipeline Corporation (PBA) of Canada and Petrochemical Industries Company KSC of Kuwait.
The new installation will be part of CKPC's proposed integrated propane dehydrogenation/PP facility located in Sturgeon County, Alberta. If built, the PP line would be the world's largest single train, capable of producing 550,000 metric tons per year of PP, including homopolymer, random copolymer, and impact copolymer thermoplastic resins.

KBR bags contract for ammonia plant revamp in Russia



KBR Inc (KBR) has been awarded a contract by Dorogobuzh JSC (owned by JSC ACRON) to provide licensing and basic engineering design (LBED) to revamp an ammonia plant – originally built by KBR – located in the Dorogobuzh, Russia.
Under the agreement, KBR will supply its proprietary ammonia technology to increase plant capacity significantly to 2100 MTPD with improved efficiency.
KBR will utilize its industry leading revamp technology KRES (KBR reforming exchanger system) in conjunction with KBR's true cold wall add-on converter to achieve low project cost revamping to enable Dorogobuzh to produce low-cost ammonia to meet increasing captive demand.
"The application of KRES in conjunction with KBR's reliable add-on ammonia converter provides low cost revamping to Dorogobuzh and numerous similar plants in the region," said John Derbyshire, president of KBR technology & consulting.
"We are pleased to contribute KBR's innovative technology solution for natural gas monetization in Russia. KBR is a leader in helping clients debottleneck their ammonia plants and achieve greater production capacities, process efficiencies and reliability," added Derbyshire.

Orion to increase prices for rubber carbon blacks in US




Orion Engineered Carbons SA (OEC) said that it is increasing prices for all rubber carbon blacks sold in US, by five cents (5¢) per pound, effective 1 September.
In addition, Orion announced the stopping of one rubber carbon black production line at its Orange, Texas facility, effective at year end. Orion is taking this action because current price levels of rubber carbon blacks in North America do not adequately address the costs of maintaining this production capacity. The company is assisting affected customers through the appropriate transition plans.
“We are increasing prices in order to continue the substantial investments in our North American rubber black production network essential to sustain safety of supply. This increase in pricing and the investments in production are necessary to ensure our long-term supply capability,” said Chris Erickson, Orion’s vice president, rubber carbon black business line, Americas.

Omega-3 fatty acid stops lupus trigger, but how?




Michigan State University scientists have received a $2.3 million, five-year National Institutes of Health grant to help uncover why an omega-3 fatty acid, known as DHA, is so effective in stopping a known trigger of lupus.
Previous MSU research has shown that consuming DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, which is found in fatty, cold-water fish, can stop the onset of lupus when the disease is caused by a toxic mineral that’s inhaled and typically found around construction, agriculture and mining sites.
It’s still unclear, though, how the natural fatty substance prevents the disease from forming.
“When lupus is triggered by fine inhalable particles called crystalline silica in the lungs, our earlier research has shown that DHA essentially stopped the activation of the disease,” said James Pestka, a University Distinguished Professor of food science and human nutrition.
He is leading the new study with MSU co-investigators Jack Harkema, a pulmonary pathologist and Jenifer Fenton, a nutritional biochemist.
According to Harkema, the DHA could be changing the way these cells react to the silica in the lungs and somehow stops the immune system from overcompensating and going after healthy cells too.
One theory the researchers have is the DHA could help cells send a signal to the body so it won’t overreact and tell the immune system to attack beyond what’s needed. Another thought is somehow the DHA allows the cells to swallow up and remove the toxic silica from the lungs without dying, preventing any inflammatory signals from being sent throughout the body.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Points You Should Remember About Covalent Bonds


A covalent bond is a chemical bond that involves sharing of pairs of electronsbetween atoms. These pairs of electrons are known as bonding pairs or shared pair.
Covalent bond is also known as molecular bond. Covalent bonding arises between two atoms of the same element, or of elements which are close to each other in the periodic table. Covalent bonding occurs primarily between non-metals; but, it can also be witnessed between metals and non-metals. Covalent bonds are most likely to occur, when atoms have similar electro negativities.
History of covalence
The term covalence was first used in 1919 in regards to bonding, by Irving Langmuir in article of “Journal of the American Chemical Society”, titled "The Arrangement of Electrons in Atoms and Molecules". 
However, the idea of covalent bonding could be traced to Gilbert N. Lewis, numeral years before 1919, who in 1916 explained the sharing of electron pairs between atoms.
What are various types of covalent bonds?
There exist three types of covalent bonds which is based upon number of shared electron pairs.
Single covalent bond: Single covalent bonds between two atoms are formed, when there exist a mutual sharing of one electron pair. Single covalent bond is denoted by short single line (----).
Double covalent bond: Single covalent bonds between two atoms are formed when there exist mutual sharing of two electron pairs. Double covalent bond is denoted by short double line (=).
Triple covalent bond: Triple covalent bond is formed, when there is sharing of three electron pairs. This bond is denoted by triple short line. 
Polar covalent bond: When a covalent bond is formed between two different atoms, it is said as polar covalent bond.
Non-polar covalent bond: When a covalent bond is formed between two like atoms, it is said as non-polar covalent bond.

Read more. Points You Should Remember About Covalent Bonds

Linde to expand production capacity in Malaysia; invests €30 mn




Linde Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Linde), a member of The Linde Group said that it will invest €30 million to expand its gas and liquid production capacities in central Malaysia.
Linde will construct and commission a new gas and liquid producing air separation unit (ASU) at its site in Hicom Industrial Estate (Hicom). The new ASU will be integrated into the pipeline supply network of existing plants which Linde operates in Bukit Raja and Hicom.
The investment will enable Linde to meet forecast growth in the central Malaysian region through the next decade. The expansion project is expected to be completed by 2018. The facility will also form the cornerstone of a renewed and expanding oxygen supply scheme to leading Japanese glass manufacturer, Nippon Electric Glass Malaysia (NEGM).
“There continues to be a healthy growth momentum and expansion activities across a variety of industries in the central region. Our latest investment further strengthens Linde’s position as a reliable and efficient provider of top quality industrial gases to NEGM and other customers in Malaysia,” said Connell Zhang, managing director for Linde Malaysia.

AkzoNobel, Itaconix bio-based agreement enters commercial phase




AkzoNobel NV has finalised the first application agreement for bio-based polymers to result from its collaboration with Itaconix PLC.
Announced earlier this year, the joint development agreement involves AkzoNobel’s performance additives unit developing applications for Itaconix polymers to be used in the coatings and construction industries. Under the agreement, Itaconix will contribute its proprietary polymers from itaconic acid, which are obtained from sugars through fermentation.
“We are pleased to be announcing the first in a series of agreements to develop these polymers for commercial use. Being able to incorporate polymers made from renewable bio-based raw materials will give a significant sustainability advantage for our customers and also fits closely with our own Planet Possible sustainability agenda of doing more with less,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, RD&I director for AkzoNobel’s speciality chemicals business.
“In addition to applications in coatings and construction materials, bio-based polymers have the potential to be used in a range of other everyday essentials, ranging from improving water quality to cleaning and hygiene products,” added Nieuwenhuizen.

RPM appoints new president for industrial segment



RPM International Inc (RPM) said that David Reif, III, formerly group president of the RPM performance coatings group, has been appointed president – RPM industrial segment.
In this role, Reif will provide strategic direction to RPM’s industrial segment businesses. He will report to RPM’s president and chief operating officer (CEO) Ronald Rice.
Reif began his career at KPMG Peat Marwick in 1975 and joined Stonhard Inc in 1986 as executive VP and chief financial officer (CFO) and a minority owner. RPM acquired Stonhard in 1993. Since that time, Reif has served as CFO of RPM, president of its StonCor Group of operating companies, and in June of 2000 was appointed president and CEO of the RPM performance coatings group.
Additionally, RPM also announced the promotion of David Dennsteadt (currently VP) to group president of the RPM performance coatings group, a collection of companies that are global leaders in industrial high-performance coatings and waterproofing products including Carboline, Stonhard, USL and Fibergrate.
Greaves will report to Reif in his capacity as president - RPM industrial segment.

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