Coming soon: Stronger, more durable plastic consumer products

Washington, Oct 21 (ANI): Long awaited advances in reducing the cost of certain catalysts - substances that kick-start chemical reactions - have led to production of super-strong forms of the world's most widely used plastics.

These upgraded forms of polyethylene have led to availability of stronger, more durable consumer products ranging from garbage bags to camping cookware.

C and EN Senior Editor Alexander Tullo notes that the catalysts, called "metallocenes," engendered excitement years ago because they allowed production of stronger forms of polyethylene plastics.

The world's most widely used plastic - polyethylene is a mainstay in plastic shopping bags and other items. However, hopes that metallocene plastics would replace conventional polyethylene plastics faded because of the high costs of these catalysts.

The article describes a revival in the use of metallocenes and expanded marketing of super-strong polyethylene plastics. The reason: New technologies have cut the catalysts' cost and fostered production of millions of tons of the new plastics. They are found in products such as stronger garbage bags, improved packaging materials, more durable fuel tanks, and tougher artificial turf for football and soccer fields.

The story appeared on the cover story of the current issue of Chemical and Engineering News (C and EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine. (ANI)

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