Professor Geoffrey Coates and his team from the university of Minnesota have created a new additive not only exhibit promise for enhancing recycling but also could generate a hole new class of mechanically tough polymer blend.
His talks about plastics and recycling: unfortunately only 2% of the 78 million tones of plastic used yearly for packaging, really gets recycled and reused in a similar manner. Approximately 14%is used in energy recovery and an enormous 40% ends up in landfills.
One of the issues: PP and PE which account for two-thirds of the total plastics globally, have varied chemical structures and hence can not be repurposed together. or at least an effective technology to meld these two materials into one has not been found in the 60 years these two materials have been available on the market.
this research group have created a tetrablock polymer:
when it is incorporated in small measure to a mixture of the two incompatible materials PP and PE, create a new and mechanically robust polymer.
for years scientists have attempted to create this polymer. By incorporating a tiny amount of their tetrablock polymer with alternating PP and PE segments the resulting material has strength better than diblock polymers they tested.
What is exciting about this, is we can go to as low as 1 percent of our additive and you get a plastic alloy that really has super great properties’ professor Geoffrey said.