The innovative products of chemistry lead to cutting edge advancements—applied technology in medical devices, aerospace, computing, cars, fuels and more. That’s what chemistry enables: technological advancements that drive innovation, create jobs and enhance safety in our everyday lives.
In 2012, chemical companies invested $57 billion in research and development to support new innovation. In fact, 17 percent of U.S. patents are chemistry or chemistry-related like life-saving medical treatments, automobile safety improvements and clean energy technologies. The business of chemistry excels at continuously bringing new, imaginative and innovative ideas to market—and tomorrow will be no different.
Here are a few examples:
Chemistry in Nanotechnology Breakthroughs:
- Nanotechnology is the science of extremely small structures and is leading to advanced materials, devices and applications in energy, medicine and electronics that improve life, health care, safety and the environment in groundbreaking ways.
- Nanotechnology has many diverse applications, some of which include delivering drugs to specific cells, repairing damaged human tissue, improving efficiency of solar energy production and enabling lighter, higher performance plastics for aerospace, construction and vehicles.
Chemistry in Computing:
- Widespread use of touch screens, enabled by plastics, adhesives and other products of chemistry are employed on cell phones, PDAs, computer screens and more.
- Thinner screens soon will be applied to windows, consumer products and public displays to enable increased interactivity and commerce.
Chemistry in Transportation:
- Auto and aerospace designers are turning to strong, durable plastics that weigh much less than traditional materials and help save energy.
- Modern plastics and composites already make up 50 percent of the volume of today’s automobiles.
- Boeing is using lightweight carbon-plastic composites for its new 787 Dreamliner to reduce weight and save energy.
Chemistry in the Space Age:
- The growth of American chemistry and the space age coincided for good reason, leading to the creation of airbags for robotic landings on Mars and heat shields for atmospheric re-entry.
- Aerospace needs the products of chemistry such as plastic space suits that can withstand 600 degree (Fahrenheit) temperature ranges.
Policies to Enable Innovations in Technology
As technology advances, Americans must feel confident that the federal regulatory system is keeping pace with the applications of chemistry. Our nation’s primary chemicals management law must be updated to adapt to scientific advancements and to promote that chemical products are safe for intended use—while also encouraging innovation and protecting American jobs.
In addition, to create more knowledge worker jobs and help chemical makers compete fairly at home and abroad, federal tax policy must keep corporate tax rates low, end double taxation and encourage research and development.
Learn more about policies that can help American chemistry continue innovating, creating jobs and enhancing safety.