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Eco-friendly glass exists but it’s complex to make, researchers say

By Natasha O’Neill

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    Mississauga, Ont. (CTV Network) — Researchers have figured out a new way to make glass that will decompose on its own and not harm the planet.

In a new study published in Science Advances on Mar. 17, a group of researchers developed a “family” of eco-friendly glass from amino acids or peptides.

According to the study, the new biodegradable or biorecyclable glass has “a minimal environmental footprint.”

Traditional glass is made from non-biodegradable materials like methyl methacrylate.

Using a “heating-quenching” technique, researchers were able to chemically modify amino acids to form a similar glass product. Further testing was done on the glass’ kinetic and thermodynamic abilities.

Although the research has demonstrated the ability to create biodegradable glass, researchers say mass production will not happen anytime soon.

“The concept of biomolecular glass, beyond the commercially-used glasses or plastics, may underlie a green-life technology for a sustainable future,” YAN Xuehai, a professor from the Institute of Process Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in the press release accompanying the study. “However, the biomolecular glass is currently in the laboratory stage, and far from large-scale commercialization.”

More testing is needed to ensure the eco-friendly glass does not decompose at high temperatures.

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