Volume 95 Issue 21 | pp. 32-33 | C&EN Talks With
Issue Date: May 22, 2017 | Web Date: May 17, 2017

Catalysis expert explains how gold might slash China’s mercury pollution

Cardiff University’s Graham Hutchings helped develop a gold catalyst that can substitute for a mercury-based one in plastics manufacturing
By Mark Peplow, special to C&EN
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: catalysis, gold, catalyst, vinylchloride monomer, VCM, Minamata Convention, chloroethene

Graham Hutchings of Cardiff University made a discovery in 1982 that came to define his career. He predicted that gold—despite its reputation for being inert—should be an excellent catalyst for an industrial reaction that makes vinyl chloride (chloroethene), used to produce one of the world’s most ubiquitous plastics, polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

More than three decades later, Hutchings is still working on gold catalysts, and his pioneering research has finally helped gold . . .

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