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Rare-earth innovation to improve nylon manufacturing

The Critical Materials Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by the Ames Laboratory, has created a new chemical process that makes use of the widely available rare-earth metal cerium to improve the manufacture of nylon. The process uses a cerium-based material made into nanometer-sized particles with a palladium catalyst to produce cyclohexanone, a key ingredient in the production of nylon. Traditional methods of producing cyclohexanone involve high temperatures and high pressure, and necessitate the use of hydrogen.

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