A team of Foundry staff and users developed a system to fully recover constituent polydiketoenamine (PDK) plastics from a blended product composed of multiple PDKs and other common manufacturing materials.
Significance and Impact
This is the first demonstration of chemical circularity of mixed polymers. The new material system lays the groundwork for making consumer products recyclable and bringing more circularity to manufacturing.
- The research team synthesized a variety of PDKs and found they depolymerize at different rates and temperatures.
- Using density functional theory, they uncovered the mechanism that controls depolymerization and were able to establish the design rules that govern polymer reactivity.
- Using optimized PDKs, the team demonstrated that they can recover PDK monomers from blended plastics, multi-layer plastic films, and an object made of plastic, glass and steel.