Plastics are key components of virtually any technology today. The excellent materials properties of polyethylene, the largest produced synthetic plastic, originate from a crystalline packing of the (linear) hydrocarbon chains. The inert nature of the hydrocarbon backbone of polyethylene and other common plastics hinders chemical recycling, however, and also renders material lost to the environment persistent for many decades. Polycondensation polymerization of long-chain monomers, obtained from natural oils or waste feedstocks, yields polyesters or polycarbonates with solid state structures and materials and processing properties similar to polyethylene (HDPE). At the same time, these materials can be closed-loop recycled under mild conditions via the low density of in-chain functional groups. These in-chain groups also render the materials biodegradable. Mineralization was unambiguously observed and quantified via stable isotope-selective CO2 tracking.
Announcement: Guest Lecture in January!
We are happy to welcome Prof. Stefan Mecking from University of Konstanz for a guest lecture on “Closed-Loop Recyclable and Biodegradable Polyethylene-Like Long-Chain Polyesters” on Friday, 12th of January 2024, at 11 a.m. (CET).