Arkema, BASF honoured for sustainable development
Pierre Potier prize honours acrylic glass breakthrough
Arkema has won first place in this year’s Pierre Potier prize for “chemistry innovations serving sustainable development”, in recognition of the development of its new acrylic sheet, Altuglas ShieldUp. Also honoured this year was BASF for its work on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).
Arkema describes Altuglas ShieldUp, which was developed by its Altuglas International, as “a world first in acrylic glass”. It uses nanostructuring techchnology developed at Arkema’s research centre in Lacq France for its two raw materials, PMMA and an elastomer. This enables it to offer an unprecedented combination of impact resistance, chemical stability and perfect transparency in all temperatures, in addition to the scratch- and age-resistance associated with standard PMMA.
The material can thus be used in place of glass in automotive windscreens, side windows and panoramic roofs, reducing car weight and thus both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. It is fully recyclable and similar to glass in terms of its full life-cycle environmental impact. In addition, it is thermoformed and can be made into complex shapes without jeopardising its optical and other properties.
The Process Research & Chemical Engineering division of BASF, meanwhile, developed another first: a process by which aluminium MOFs can be manufactured without solvents on a tonne scale and with high material yield. MOFs, which are made up of a three-dimensional framework with nanoscale pores, have many applications, notably the storage of natural gas in gas powered vehicles.
The Pierre Potier prize has been awarded every year since 2005 by the French Ministry for Industry, in partnership with France’s Chemical Industries Association, the UIC and the Federation of Chemical Sciences.