New Breakthrough in Uranium Could Lead to Monumental Developments

Uranium is capable of performing reactions that earlier no one thought could be possible, and these reactions are now capable of converting the way industry makes polymers, bulk chemicals and the precursors to new plastics and drugs, based on latest findings from The University of Manchester.

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In the journal Nature Communications, the chemists have detailed how they have discovered the potential of uranium to perform reactions that once used to be the preserve of transition metals such as palladium and rhodium. Since uranium sits between varied types of reactivity of transition metals and lanthanides, it could be able to merge the best of both in order to provide new ways of producing chemicals and materials.

This discovery has also been profiled in a new video, which is part of a series developed by the School of Chemistry. Other videos present how chemists at Manchester have produced the world's tiniest fuel powered motor and detected that Parkinson's sufferers can have a novel smell identifying the disease - even before the symptoms could be seen by any medical professional.

The YouTube videos attempt to place world class scientific papers into words that can be understood by everyone.

The recent discovery refers to the fact that industry could now be in a position to produce new compounds that cannot be made in any other manner.

Furthermore, uranium is considered to be one of the elements about which very less is known, and besides it being associated with nuclear power and nuclear weapons, the new discovery proposes that various other uses could be on the horizon.

This discovery will lead to some monumental developments that could change the way we live. Development work like this really could pave the way for new medicines and also the creation of truly biodegradable hard plastic. It is comparable to the discovery of liquid crystal displays, which happened 20 years before everyone sat up and realised that they could be used in modern computer displays and TVs.

Steve Liddle, Professor and Head of Inorganic Chemistry, and Author of the paper

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