THE ‘HOLY GRAIL’ OF PLASTIC WAS FOUND

Scientists have produced a plastic that can be recycled repeatedly without any loss of quality.

Scientists have produced a plastic that can be recycled repeatedly without any loss of quality. It was called the “Holy Grail”. The reason for this is to make a reference to the bestowal of immortality of this grail mentioned in the holy books.
This component can be completely disintegrated when introduced into an acid bath. Like Lego, these monomers can be reassembled into different shapes, colors, and textures, according to scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Currently, most of the recyclable plastic materials are processed to recycle new materials, but a considerable portion of them are scattered around the nature by consumers.

Peter Christensen, a postdoctoral researcher at the Berkeley Laboratory Molecular Foundry and the lead author of the study published in Nature Chemistry said: “Most plastics were never made to be recycled.” “However, we have found a new way of combining plastics for recycling from a molecular perspective.”

Unlike normal plastics, the new material called poly (dichetoenamine) or PDK can be separated into its monomers by dunking it in a highly acidic solution. It breaks the bonds between acid monomers and separates them from additives that give the plastic a distinctive look and feel. These monomers can be recovered as long as possible for reuse or can be upcycled to obtain other products.

“We are interested in chemistry that directs plastic cycles directly to the environment. We see an opportunity to make a difference where recycling options are not available.” said Brett Helms, a scientist at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry. Dr. Helms added: “In PDKs, we see the exchange of immutable bonds in conventional plastics with reversible bonds, which allows the plastic to be recycled more effectively.”


The research team believes that recyclable plastics can be an alternative to today’s non-recyclable plastics. The next plan is to develop PDK plastics with a range of properties used for different purposes such as textiles, 3D printing and foam. Dr. Helms said: “This is an exciting time to start thinking about how to design both materials and recycling facilities to activate circular plastics.”

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-berkeley-holy-grail-of-plastic-recycling-a8906296.html

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