When thinking of the uses for sugar, an image of your morning cuppa might come to mind. New research now aims to change the way we see sugar by using it to make clothing! Best of all, the process is much better for the planet.
Adipic acid is used to make nylon in the creation of clothing. This acid is commonly made from chemicals that are petroleum-based through a nitric acid oxidation process. The problem with this is that it creates lots of nitrous oxides, which contribute to global warming. In fact, nitrous oxides have 310 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. Two of the main man-made sources these oxides come from are agriculture as well as the manufacturing of nylon and acids. But now, researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have found an innovative chemical method that will be able to convert adipic acid from sugar directly.
Fruit Peels or Fashion?
This process is important because being able to transform sugar into adipic acid is much kinder to the environment. How it works is that mucic acid, derived from the peels of fruit and oxidized from sugar, will create adipic acid. The problem is that some processes which have already been used to achieve this are very dangerous as they make use of high-pressure hydrogen gas as well as strong acids. The new method created by IBN will make it safer and more efficient.
Easy and Eco-Friendly
In order to get mucic acid from adipic acid, the process of deoxydehydration is required, which is basically the removal of water and oxygen by dehydration and reduction. The team of researchers discovered that their process provided a greater produce of adipic acid – 99 per cent of the initial material! This is a huge achievement since current practices only manage to gain approximately 60 per cent. The process has been found to be simple and efficient for industries, with the resulting product being much purer.