Replacing mercury with gold catalysts for a cleaner route to production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the world’s third most produced polymer after polyethylene and polypropylene. Until recently the formation of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), the precursor to PVC, has relied on the use of a highly toxic mercuric chloride catalyst for acetylene hydrochlorination. This exhibit summarises the successful development of a gold catalyst for this reaction, and highlights the importance of close links between industry and academia. 

Dr Samuel Pattisson, Prof. Graham Hutchings’ research group, Cardiff University

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