Going To Extremes

Going To Extremes - Featured General Research Graphene
Jean-Marc Imbert, Global Product Manager at The Chemours Company, looks at how the chemistry of Viton™ fluoroelastomers keeps pace with our evolving world to deliver peak performance.

National Association News Today:

Watching a video of the deep sea can be mesmerizing: Bioluminescent organisms glow in murky water while bizarre creatures swim into the shot, surprising us. To capture these images, filmmakers have had to descend to depths extreme enough to crush even submarines. That these filmmakers have been able to venture down this far is a credit to scientists—the ones who’ve developed materials strong enough to withstand such brutal pressure.

Take, for example, Trieste, a bathyscaphe (deep-ocean vehicle) designed by inventor Auguste Piccard. In 1960, Piccard’s son, Jacques, and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh used the vehicle to descend to a record depth of about 10,916 meters in the Pacific’s Mariana Trench. Their feat was so extreme, it has not yet been matched—not even by “Titanic” film director James Cameron, whose Deepsea Challenger submarine descended to 10,898 meters in 2012.

As we forge ahead to even greater extremes, we’ll need to continue pushing the boundaries of chemistry and innovation.

Brute-force engineering has taken humans to the deepest known part of the ocean, and chemistry plays a vital role in opening up these harsh environments for further exploration. Technologies such as Raman spectrometers are used to gather data about the chemical composition of objects on the ocean floor. Lead zirconium titanate, a piezoelectric ceramic used in transducers and , has been shown to withstand pressures of 27,000 psi—even greater than those found in the Mariana Trench.

Meanwhile, the deep-sea activities carried out by the oil and gas industries contribute to the development of high-performance materials, such as seals and valves based on fluoroelastomers, that allow operational drilling at extreme depths.

The full story is available below.