Towards Elimination of Transition Metals and VOCs from the Environmentally Benign Materials Made by Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP)

EPA Grant Number: R829580
Title: Towards Elimination of Transition Metals and VOCs from the Environmentally Benign Materials Made by Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP)
Investigators: Matyjaszewski, Krzysztof
Current Investigators: Matyjaszewski, Krzysztof , Braunecker, Wade , Iovu, Mihaela , Itami, Yujiro , Lee, Sang Boom , Li, Mei , Lutz, Jean Francois , McKenzie, Blayne , Min, Ke , Tsarevsky, Nick
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Current Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
EPA Project Officer: Richards, April
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2004
Project Amount: $350,000
RFA: Technology for a Sustainable Environment (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Sustainability , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


The objective of the proposal is to eliminate the transition metal and VOCs from the materials synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). This requires the improvement of the catalytic system as well as selection of environmentally friendly media, including solventless bulk polymerization, carrying out the polymerization in water and CO2.


Two approaches are proposed to improve the catalyst efficiency: 1) expanding the range of the catalysts from copper complexes to others such as iron and lanthanide compounds; and 2) better purification and recycling of the catalyst by using hybrid systems containing both immobilized and homogeneous catalysts, ionic liquids that facilitate the removal of the metal complex, peptide nucleic acid (PNA) as the carrier of the catalyst, and supermolecular assembly between the ligand and the solid support. We also propose three approaches to carry out ATRP in an environmentally friendly media: 1) Bulk polymerization due to the lack of auto-acceleration effect; 2) Homogeneous aqueous polymerization, using both neutral and charged hydrophilic monomers. This also includes the synthesis of water-soluble block copolymers and hydrogels. 3) Water-borne dispersed polymerization, such as emulsion, suspension and miniemulsion.

Expected Results:

It is anticipated that the objectives will be reached within the proposed time. We anticipate that all of these achievements will be subsequently used in academia and industry, benefitting the environment.

Estimated Improvement:

The development of new, more efficient catalysts, which can be applied to water-borne media and allow the synthesis of new environmentally benign materials. This will reduce the amount of VOCs used for the process and also reduce the level of remaining heavy metals in products such as automotive coatings, surfactants, adhesives, etc.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 48 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 22 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

water, bulk, VOC, heavy metals, solvents, recycling, modeling, environmental polymer chemistry., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Sustainable Environment, Chemistry, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Chemistry and Materials Science, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, transition metal catalysts, environmental problems and polymers, catalysts, modeling, polymerization chemistry, atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), polymers, recycling, environmentally benign alternative, homogeneous catalysis, environmentally benign catalysts, pollution prevention, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), polymer design, heavy metals

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • Final Report