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National Science Foundation

NSF 07-43, Benchmarks of NSF Innovation

top portion of cover page for the Benchmarks of NSF Innovation, includes illustration of molecule chains above rippling water
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NSF-funded researchers from Texas A&M University have pioneered a method to accelerate the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas into the biodegradable
thermoplastics used in eyeglass lenses, shatterproof glass, baby bottles, and CDs and DVDs.

Current methods for making thermoplastics generally require petroleum. However, researchers have pioneered a method to produce biodegradable plastic products using atmospheric CO2--a productive use for the greenhouse gas.

Researchers are now working to develop effective non-toxic metal catalysts for producing another extremely useful plastic, polycarbonate, from CO2 and other compounds. This plastic can be made into biodegradable rubber-like substances that have potential biomedical applications, such as surgical sutures, drug delivery devices, and body or dental implants.

photo of portion of a CD

Researchers have pioneered a method to speed up production of biodegradable plastic products manufactured using atmospheric carbon dioxide, providing a productive use for the greenhouse gas.

Credit: morgueFile.

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