The research team of Professor Hideo Nagashima of the Institute for Leading Materials Chemistry, Kyushu University has developed an inexpensive new catalyst that does not use platinum for the production of industrial silicone.Over the next year, we will proceed with discussions with the chemical manufacturer Shin-Etsu Chemical (President Shunzou Mori, Tokyo) for practical use.Until now, the expensive and rare metal platinum had to be used to manufacture silicone, so it is likely to attract the attention of the industry.
According to Kyushu University, the production of industrial silicone requires catalytic activation of the molecular bonds in the material.Professor Nagashima et al. Developed and used a mixture of iron and cobalt carboxylate (* 1) and carbon and nitrogen compounds called isocyanide (* 2) instead of conventional platinum for this catalyst.
As a result, catalytic activity of about 10/1 of that of platinum catalyst was obtained.Professor Nagashima and his colleagues believe that further improvement in activity can be expected if the catalyst and reaction conditions are optimized.
Silicone is an organic compound in which silicon and oxygen are arranged alternately.It is known as a material with excellent characteristics such as heat resistance, cold resistance, and flame retardancy.Processed into liquid silicone oil, rubbery silicone rubber, and plastic silicone resin, it is widely used in building materials, automobiles, aircraft materials, electrical and electronic parts, cosmetics, and contact lenses.However, platinum is a rare metal that is expensive and produces little.It was pointed out that the demand for platinum catalysts would increase significantly when fuel cells became widespread, and competition for the development of new catalysts to replace platinum continued worldwide.The research results were published in the online bulletin version of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
* 1 Carboxylate A general term for organic acids such as acetic acid and formic acid.
* 2 Isocyanide A compound with a triple structure of nitrogen and carbon that can be easily synthesized.