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Conversion of Cyclic Amines into Lactams for Synthesis of Nylons and Other Polymers
Reference: 3800
Summary: Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process for the conversion of cyclic amines into lactams, which may have utility for the production of nylons and other industrial polymers.
Description: Lactams are used for a wide variety of commercial applications, such as precursors for the production of solvents, nylons, and other polymers.  Caprolactam is a particularly important lactam that is used as a precursor for Nylon-6, of which millions of tons are sold each year.  However, the traditional commercial process for production of caprolactam uses highly corrosive sulfuric acid and generates ammonium sulfate as a by-product. So-called “green” methods for production of caprolactam give relatively high yields, but require expensive high pressure equipment.  To overcome these drawbacks, ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process for the conversion of cyclic amines (typically 5-, 6-, and 7-membered rings) into lactams that can be used for the synthesis of nylons and other commercially important polymers.  This process uses Au/SiO2 to catalyze the reaction of cyclic amines with oxygen at low pressures and uses starting materials that do not require lengthy syntheses.
Advantage:
  • Enables synthesis of lactams used for a variety of commercial applications
  • Process does not use highly corrosive sulfuric acid or generate ammonium sulfate by product
  • Does not require high pressure equipment
  • Uses different starting materials than traditional routes to lactams
Application: Synthesis of nylons and other polymers
Stage: Conversion of cyclic amines to a variety of lactams with yields of up to 50% have been demonstrated experimentally using this process, and ISU is seeking commercialization partners.
Supporting Documents:
ISURF #3800 Supporting Document
ISURF #3800 Tech Brief
Patents: 8212027 (Issued July 3, 2012) Entitled "Process for the Conversion of Cyclic Amines..."
License Associate: Craig Forney
E-mail: licensing@iastate.edu
Phone: 515-294-9513
Keywords: Lactams, nylons, polymer, caprolactam, pyrrolidone, piperidone, cyclic amines, Ames Laboratory
Entry Date: February 4, 2011
Revised Date: February 26, 2013

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