C&EN Picks for ACS New Orleans #ACSNOLA
Apr02

C&EN Picks for ACS New Orleans #ACSNOLA

How can chemists mitigate the effects of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina? What are the latest chemistry mobile apps? And how are emulsions making a difference in medical imaging? Sessions at next week’s ACS National Meeting in New Orleans will be covering those timely topics. Watch all of our picks below. If you’ll be in New Orleans, you can also see these videos in the convention...

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Polymers Are Not Chemicals, CNN says
May13

Polymers Are Not Chemicals, CNN says

That's right folks, you heard it here first: Polymers are not chemicals. Polymer scientists, all those years of chemistry classes you took are worthless. I'm sorry. I was informed of this factoid this morning while I was eating my breakfast and watching CNN's coverage of the oil spill in the Gulf. Reynolds Wolf (no relation, thank goodness), a meteorologist and CNN correspondent, was reporting from Louisiana on another chemical being used to help in the clean-up efforts: C.I. Agent. We've already reported about the dispersants being employed down there, but I hadn't heard of this substance until this morning. It seems clean-up crews are now also going to be using C.I. Agent, a petroleum-based blend of polymers that encapsulates oil (or any hydrocarbon, really), turning the whole complex into a rubberlike substance that can be scooped out of the water. This polymeric powder compound comes from Louisville, Ky.-based C.I. Agent Solutions, which says that the solidified oil-polymer product "can be used as a fuel or sold to companies ... as a filler to add strength and flexibility to their products." This is not exactly what Reynolds Wolf told me this morning. He stressed that the C.I. Agent is "a polymer, not a chemical" and that the final solid is "biodegradable." I can't find a video clip of this, so you'll have to take my word for it, but I nearly choked on my cereal bar when I heard it. I'm guessing that what you were supposed to get out of all of this is something like: Chemicals are bad, but this polymer thing is good because it's eco-friendly and helpful. I talked all of this over with colleague Melody Voith, who authors the "Cleantech Chemistry" blog for C&EN. She's already reported about other efforts to clean up the Gulf, such as stockings filled with hair, and looked further into this C.I. Agent here.  I leave you with a video of C.I. Agent in action. It reminds me of one of those OxiClean...

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