JUN 18, 2019 06:00 AM PDT

Plastics of Future Could Be Fully and Indefinitely Recyclable

Not all plastic wastes are recyclable. And the current recycling system isn't efficient because a portion of the material end up lost during the process. Moreover, those reused materials are often not as durable or strong as the freshly made.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE), a group of material researchers has come up with a new type of plastics called poly(diketoenamine), or PDKs. This innovative polymer is easily moldable, sturdy, and flexible. But unlike conventional plastics, PDKs can be reused repeatedly, without losing performance or quality.  

With its monomers connected with each other in reversible bonds, PDKs can be easily broken down in a strong acid bath. Any compounded additives can be separated and removed as well. This way all original molecules can be recovered and reassembled into a different shape, texture, and color again and again.

The researchers hope that their invention can help divert plastics from landfills and the oceans, and incentivize the recovery and reuse of plastics once their PDKs becomes mainstream.

Their work was published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Source: Seeker via Youtube

About the Author
  • With years of experience in biomedical R & D, Daniel is also very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles.
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