Bio-Based Lactone Acrylic Plastics with Performance and Recyclability Advantages

Reid Gilsdorf, Eswara Rao Chokkapu, Abhay Athaley, Taylor Uekert, Ravikumar Gowda, Avantika Singh, Jason DesVeaux, Gregg Beckham, Eugene Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is a drive to use bio-based feedstocks in polymers and engineer new materials for circularity. Here, we aimed to study bio-based, lower-ceiling-temperature alternatives to poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) to achieve enhanced recycling and performance. We show that poly(..alpha..-methylene-..delta..-valerolactone) (PMVL) and poly(..alpha..-methylene-..delta..-decalactone) (PMDL), derived from the corresponding bio-based monomers MVL and MDL, exhibit five advantages compared to PMMA: exceptionally high polymerization rates under green conditions, near-quantitative bulk depolymerization to recover the monomer under mild conditions, enhanced solvent resistance and glass transition temperatures, atom-efficient reversible upcycling to advanced materials, and reduction of the temperature needed for recycling high-ceiling-temperature polyacrylates by forming copolymers doped with MDL. All advantaged properties can be accredited to the pendent lactone attached to the all-carbon backbone. Lastly, techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment for producing PMVL from bio-based sources show that the production could be economically and environmentally competitive with PMMA under ambitious recycling scenarios that leverage the inherent recyclability of PMVL.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages18
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2A00-89314

Keywords

  • acrylic plastics
  • bio-based acrylics
  • chemical recycling
  • circular polymer
  • life-cycle assessment
  • recyclable vinyl polymers
  • techno-echonomic analysis
  • vinyl lactone

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