Carnegie Mellon University Department of Chemistry

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Postdoctoral Fellow Traian Sarbu Shares Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

photo of Traian SarbuAs reported in the July 1 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, Pittsburgh scientists have received another prestigious Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. These awards honor academic, industry and non-profit leaders for their work in pollution prevention. Eric Beckman, chemical engineering professor at the University of Pittsburgh, was selected in the academic category for "the design and preparation of the first non-fluorinated copolymer 'CO2-phile' additives that make carbon dioxide a more useful solvent." Traian Sarbu was a contributor to this work when he was previously a post-doctoral fellow with Beckman before joining the Matyjaszewski group at Carnegie Mellon. When working as a post-doctoral fellow with Professor Beckman, Traian Sarbu was the principal investigator on a project where carbon dioxide is both a solvent and reagent, to obtain the first nonfluorinated CO2-philic polymers. Among the key characteristics of the poly(ether-carbonate) "CO2-philes" are a low glass-transition temperature, weak interactions with other polymer chains, and a Lewis base functional group to create favorable interactions with the CO2 solvent.

Each year, one award is made to an academic, one to a small business, and three to chemical industries in the categories of "alternative synthetic pathways", "alternative solvents/reaction conditions", and "the design of safer chemicals".

The award to University of Pittsburgh's Beckman and his colleagues brings to five the number of Presidential green Chemistry Challenge Awards given to academics and companies in the Pittsburgh area, making Pittsburgh the most highly decorated city in this vital area of sustainability research—thirty awards have been made in total.

Terry Collins, The Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry in this University, won the academic award in 1999.

Other Pittsburgh Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

The presentation of the 2001 awards was held in Washington, D.C. at the National Academies of Science and Engineering on June 24. It included dignitaries from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academies, the American Chemical Society, and the White House.

July 2002