CSP Researcher Yutong Pang was featured in the University of Minnesota’s CSE News and Features for her achievement in finding a pathway that converts the lactate in corn to acrylic acid, which could then be used for acrylic paints and children’s diapers.
CSP Investigator, and Pang’s faculty advisor, Paul Dauenhauer states in the article: “Yutong’s brilliant insight and determination to this problem help us make a giant leap forward beyond existing chemistry and into the realm of economically viable sustainable materials.” Acrylic acid, which is used to make many types of plastics, coatings, and paints, is typically made from petroleum. Researchers have been trying to find a more sustainable way to manufacture it for years. Pang discovered a substance that when added to the chemical reaction, was able to suppress an unwanted side reaction, paving the way for a more sustainable and economically efficient way to produce acrylic materials.
Yutong spoke with CSE News about her decision to come to the University of Minnesota, and about the collaborative environment CEMS faculty foster in their department. An environment that she credits for preparing her to work in the fundamentals of chemical engineering.
Photo credit: Yutong Pang