Chemically Recyclable Polyolefin-Like Multiblock Polymers

Yucheng Zhao, Emma Rettner, Katherine Harry, Zhitao Hu, Joel Miscall, Nicholas Rorrer, Garret Miyake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Polyolefins are the most important and largest volume plastics produced. Unfortunately, the enormous use of plastics and lack of effective disposal or recycling options have created a plastic waste catastrophe. In this work, we report an approach to create chemically recyclable polyolefin-like materials with diverse mechanical properties through the construction of multiblock polymers from hard and soft oligomeric building blocks synthesized with ruthenium-mediated ring-opening metathesis polymerization of cyclooctenes. The multiblock polymers exhibit broad mechanical properties, spanning elastomers to plastomers to thermoplastics, while integrating a high melting transition temperature (Tm) and low glass transition temperature (Tg), making them suitable for use across diverse applications (Tm as high as 128 degrees C and Tg as low as -60 degrees C). After use, the different plastics can be combined and efficiently deconstructed back to the fundamental hard and soft building blocks for separation and repolymerization to realize a closed-loop recycling process.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)310-314
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume382
Issue number6668
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-85476

Keywords

  • circular economy
  • deconstruction
  • polymers
  • polyolefins

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