University of Cambridge > > CEB Alumni Speaker Series > “Alpha MMA: A completely new process for the manufacture of methylmethacrylate”

“Alpha MMA: A completely new process for the manufacture of methylmethacrylate”

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Methylmethacrylate (MMA) is the monomer that is used to make high value polymers such as Perspex® and Lucite®. The superior properties of these polymers in terms of optical clarity, UV stability and ability to take colour mean that they can be used in many applications -from bathroom furniture to surgical implantations. The traditional means of manufacture of MMA all suffer from significant limitations, including cost and raw material availability, and these have prevented more widespread use of this material and its associated co-polymers. In late 2008 Lucite successfully demonstrated a 120ktes/yr MMA plant using a new process that overcomes many of the limitations of the existing processes. The new process has redefined the economics of manufacturing this chemical and plans for new plants twice the scale of any previous MMA plant are now well developed. This seminar describes the rationale for new technology development,the subsequent screening and development of the ‘Alpha MMA ’ technology, the 1:25000 scale-up methodology and early life-cycle learning from operation of 1st commercial scale production unit. The future direction for development of the technology is also outlined.

This talk is part of the CEB Alumni Speaker Series series.

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