Foundry researchers have created a new polymer that can be recycled back into its original monomers, from mixed waste streams and with additives present, and then re-made into the same or new products.
Significance and Impact
The new poly(diketoenamine)s, or PDKs, are easy to make and can be recycled and re-manufactured without loss of performance. PDKs could turn plastic into a “circular” material that is infinitely recyclable, incentivizing its reuse and keeping it out of our landfills and oceans.
- PDK monomers easily “click” together into polymers with water as the only by-product.
- The polymers can be broken down using strong acids, allowing researchers to separate pure monomers from pigments or other additives.
- Recovered monomers can be re-manufactured into the same plastic without loss of performance or appearance or upcycled into higher value plastics with added features.