Cleavable additives for degradable, recyclable thermoset plastics
Reducing plastic waste
Thermosets play a key role in the modern plastics industry, comprising about 18% of polymeric materials with a worldwide production of 65 billion tons per year. Their high density of chemical crosslinks results in excellent mechanical properties for high-performance applications, but prevents them from being readily reprocessed once formed. As a result, the vast majority of these materials must be incinerated or sent to landfills. This team is developing recyclable versions of existing high-performance thermosets by incorporating small quantities of a degradable co-monomer. The team aims to provide a solution to significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste generated while creating new revenue streams from recovered plastics and reinforcing fibers, paving the way to a greener, more sustainable future.
Headline: Chemists make tough plastics recyclable
MIT chemists have now developed a way to modify thermoset plastics with a chemical linker that makes the materials much easier to break down, but still allows them to retain the mechanical strength that makes them so useful. Read more at MIT News.