Approaches to Sustainable and Continually Recyclable Cross-Linked Polymers

We present our thoughts on future challenges that must be overcome to enable widespread, viable, and more sustainable and practical implementation of these materials, including the sustainable sourcing of feedstocks, long-term environmental stability of inherently dynamic polymers, and moving toward industrially viable synthesis and reprocessing methods

David J. Fortman; Jacob P. Brutman; Guilhem X. De Hoe; Rachel L. Snyder; William R. Dichtel; Marc A. Hillmyer


Scholarcy highlights

  • Plastics have become pervasive in most aspects of our lives, with applications ranging from consumer products to medical devices and industrial goods
  • Some predict that the weight of plastic in the ocean will surpass that of marine life by 2050.1 One way to reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste accumulation is to increase the amounts of plastics recycled into similarvalue value products
  • More recent reports regarding poly(ε-caprolactone) by Leibler and co-workers, show strong-glass forming behavior: when force is applied at reprocessing temperatures, vitrimers relax stress more like silica-based glasses than typical thermoplastics, which have an abrupt drop in the viscosity just above their glass transition temperature
  • We have highlighted many promising approaches that can be used to address the lack of reprocessability and recyclability in traditional thermoset polymers
  • These methodologies vary from pyrolysis to the introduction of dynamic functional groups for traditional melt-processing
  • Because these polymers are inherently reactive/dynamic, factors such as long-term exposure to moisture, oxygen, and sunlight will determine their large-scale use

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