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March, 9th 2010

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IBM green chemistry
Following is a guest post by Dr. Chandrasekhar (Spike) Narayan:

Environmentally sustainable plastics, smarter recycling methods, new ways to deliver medicine – these are all areas that could benefit from recent discoveries in green polymer chemistry by some of our scientists at IBM Research and Stanford University. The discoveries will be published in a paper in the American Chemical Society Journal, Macromolecules, on March 10th. You can find an abstract of the paper now at

Recently, my colleague Dr. Thomas Theis wrote about how IBM Research is exploring new areas such as DNA sequencing and water filtration using our chip, materials and nanotech expertise.

Similarly, this chemistry breakthrough around sustainable plastics represents another example of how we are expanding beyond our traditional boundaries by applying lessons learned in the development of photoresists for advanced microelectronics.

In the process of solving the problem of how to make metal-free materials and processes for the thin polymeric films that serve as lithography materials for on-chip application, we began exploring other ways to apply this research beyond the traditional IT uses with our partners.

Through pioneering the application of organocatalysis to industries such as biodegradable plastics, plastics recycling and healthcare, this discovery and new approach that uses organic catalysts could lead to biodegradable materials made from renewable resources in an environmentally responsible way.

The following video sheds more light on the breakthrough:
YouTube Preview Image

Dr. Chandrasekhar (Spike) Narayan presently leads the Science and Technology Organization at IBM’s Almaden Research Center.

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Posted by: Alex
June 27, 2011
7:21 am

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Posted by: Shane Oakey
December 21, 2010
10:10 am

A new starch based bio-packaging material promises to replace polypropylene, helping the plastic packaging industry to reduce its reliance on oil.

Posted by: Mike Aquasana
November 18, 2010
4:08 am

Yes! We can build a smarter planet with smarter plastics. This is great news that researchers around the world are leaning on the idea of going green even with plastics. It is apparent however, that not only a named few from IBM Research and Stanford University should take part but all of us! Even in minute ways we should strive to save the environment.

Start in our homes. We should reuse and recycle best as we can.

Posted by: Sarah Bernheim
November 16, 2010
6:12 am

Recycling Is a very important issue, it is the future, in my household we recycle everything from plastic bottles to tin cans. We make it a fun game rather than a chore so the children also enjoy recycling :)

Posted by: Brian Marconi
September 16, 2010
6:55 pm

Recycling will be the future, but surely an even better option is dramatically cutting down on our usage of bottles, expecially bottled water. Filtered water from taps will drastically reduce the amount of bottles we use, check out my article on this: reasons for water filtration

Posted by: water filtration pro
September 5, 2010
10:45 pm

Interesting video but the real question is: Can this chemical breakdown be done on a large enough scale that any significant impact can be made on the worlds waste problems? Maybe the answer is that it can, but how long will it take and will the process be available other companies beyond IBM?

Regardless of the true answers, I commend IMB for taking such a proactive approach toward the massive trash and waste problems we’re facing.

Posted by: Walnut Creek Recycling & Waste Management
August 6, 2010
10:38 am

I wonder if there is a practical material that could replace plastics? Perhaps it could be researched for a future impact before being produced in such quantity like plastics.

Posted by: Alma's Hydroponics Gardening
August 5, 2010
10:46 am

Recycling of plastics will be our future .. i remember the 3R principle that is.. reduce,reuse and RECYCLE..plastics are good source of products which should be recycled for future world.

Posted by: kumar
August 1, 2010
4:10 pm

Recycle its the future.

Posted by: recycling
August 1, 2010
4:08 pm

Recycling seems to be the future, we all have to do are little bit of recycling for the future of our kids.

Posted by: alan2010
March 10, 2010
11:54 am

The facts on Recycling of Packaging, particularly packaging produced from Poly(ethylene terephthalate)(PET, Recycle Symbol “1″) worldwide, are just wrong. Clear thinking IBMers should be ashamed that their corporate identity has been attached to such disinformation.

For more information on the reality of PET recycling worldwide, individuals interested in the facts may consult the websites of APR, NAPCOR, PETRA, and the manufacturers of these materials as well as the major international packaging manufacturers, many of whom are major current IBM customers and who would have to reevaluate their relationship in the face of misrepresentation of their activities by such politically motivated, self-promoting, and erroneous disinformation.

Posted by: Tod Eberle
3 Trackbacks
March 11, 2010
2:18 am

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by JennyMcTighe: IBM, Stanford advancement in plastic recycling:,,

Posted by: uberVU - social comments
March 10, 2010
2:21 pm

[...] more on the discovery, check out this blog post from Building a Smarter [...]

Posted by: Dekalb Academy of Technology & the Environment » Blog Archive » IBM and Stanford Unveil Plastics Breakthrough
March 10, 2010
8:46 am

[...] and come up with biodegradable materials to replace the plastics we use every day. Searching for sustainable plastics Through pioneering the application of organocatalysis to industries such as biodegradable plastics, [...]

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