A fundamental understanding of reaction chemistry in combustion processes offers the opportunity to modify the end results of the process. This could lead to improved pollution control technologies. Potentially, it could also enhance understanding of other high-temperature gas phase reactions that are encountered in several of our manufacturing processes. In both cases, Air Products' various technology platforms could benefit from fundamental research in combustion chemistry.
Many of Air Products' specialty polymers are synthesized via emulsion polymerization, and many are marketed in the form of waterborne emulsions. In addition to the discovery of new emulsion-based products, Air Products values an understanding of the fundamental physical chemistry related to emulsions and emulsion reactions. Of special importance is an interdisciplinary understanding of emulsion chemistry along with the chemical engineering operations of mixing, mass transfer and heat transfer.
As one of the foremost producers of fluorine and fluorine-based chemicals, Air Products values understanding of the fundamentals of reaction mechanisms related to fluorine chemistry. This could lead to various outcomes such as directed fluorination techniques or prediction of potentially valuable properties of fluorinated molecules based on their structure.
The behavior of submicron particles, including mechanisms of generation, transport, minimization and elimination, is of great interest. A fundamental understanding of small-particle behavior can lead to enhanced value of many products. For example, Air Products markets specialty gases to the electronic industry where the presence of tiny amounts of contamination by submicron particles can negatively affect processing and performance of high-tech end products. On the other hand, the potential for nanoparticles to enhance the properties of materials which incorporate those particles has led to the exploration of their unique properties, techniques to modify and disperse them and the study of their use in formulated systems. Air Products is interested in fundamental technology related to dispersion and processing of nanoparticles, applied technology that exploits the benefits that nanoparticles can bring to various systems.
Fundamental understanding of the relationship between structure and properties can help to direct the development of new synthesis methods, leading towards new products and applications.
Polymer Chemistry and Synthesis
Polymer chemistry is a backbone of such diverse products as polyurethane chemicals, coatings, emulsions, surfactants and others. Air Products' interests include new monomers, block copolymers for existing monomers, chain extenders, cross-linkers and all other aspects of polymer synthesis. Synergistic research could be focused on compatibility with our current lines of polymer products (based on vinyl acetates, polyvinyl alcohols, acrylics and ethylene polymers) or polymers used in gas processing, such as new membrane polymers.
Air Products' interests in polyurethane chemistry range from end-use specialty products based upon polyurethanes to the primary chemicals used in polyurethane production. As a major producer of toluene diamine, Air Products supplies one of the primary building blocks for polyurethanes to the industry. As a developer of new products and specialty additives, we are likewise interested in the fundamentals of catalysis, acceleration, chain extension and property modification in polyurethanes. To support all of these interests, we value basic research into the underlying chemical reaction mechanisms and the physical chemistry characterization of finished materials.
Trace Impurities Analysis
Ensuring purity in specialty gases requires reproducibly accurate analysis techniques. For gases supplied to the semiconductor manufacturing industry, these must be capable of detecting and quantifying concentrations in the ppb/ppt ranges. New techniques, as well as significant improvements in existing techniques, are of great interest.
Trace Impurity Control
Air Products supplies specialty gases to a variety of industries that demand extreme purity, especially semiconductor manufacturing. It is frequently necessary to remove very small traces of impurities from these products, at both the point of manufacture and the point of use. A systems approach combines good manufacturing technique, thorough impurity scavenging after manufacture, transport in containers that minimize reintroduction of impurities, and point-of-use final purification. Air Products welcomes both fundamental research and innovative applications development approaches that can lead to improvements in any of the elements of this delivery system.
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