Research NewsChemistry

Supercritical Solvent Comes Into Its Own

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Science  20 Dec 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5295, pp. 2013
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5295.2013


Chemists have long thought that liquefied, or ”supercritical,“ carbon dioxide could be the perfect, environmentally friendly solvent: It's essentially harmless to living things—and cheap. But it's also so inert that few substances will dissolve in it. Now, however, as reported in this issue on page 2049, researchers have devised a surfactant—a sort of soap—that should help carbon dioxide dissolve a host of greasy compounds that are important in industry.