Several students in the Kerton group have been developing polymerization catalysts based on earth abundant metals. In 2015, Hart Plommer (PhD candidate) saw his work on Aluminum catalysts published in Dalton Transactions. His catalyst showed an interesting structure-activity relationships for the ring-opening polymerization of epoxides to yield polyethers. With his most active catalyst, he was able to use an extremely low catalyst loading. He also designed the cover page for this special issue on earth-abundant elements in catalysis. The image in the background is a photo he took in Gros Morne National Park. Also in 2015, Dalal Alhashmialameer (PhD candidate) saw her work on ring-opening polymerization of lactide published in Dalton Transactions. Her report includes details on one of the most active sodium catalysts for this reaction to date. The product of her reactions poly(lactic acid) or PLA is a biodegradable polymer. Both of these papers are available free via an open-access license. Other researchers in Dr. Kerton's group work on carbon dioxide activation, biomass utilization and oxidation catalysis. Find our more about Green Chemistry @MUN by visiting our group's website.
Recent work by Peter Warburton and Ray Poirier has looked at defining both atoms and bonds in molecules by looking at the radial electron density. Continuing work in this direction will lead to new techniques in molecular modeling that are anticipated to significantly speed up many molecular modeling calculation types.