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Kyoko Nozaki

Late Transitionmetal Catalysts for Polymer Synthesis and Degradation

Thu, Aug. 24, 2023, 4:30pm
Taylor Auditorium, Frick Chemistry Lab B02
Host: Robert Knowles

In recent years, recycling and upcycling of plastic wastes are recognized as emerging research target for academia and for industry. While polyalkylene terephthalate, often used as PET bottles, can be subjected to material recycling and polystyrene and polymethylmethacrylate can be decomposed into monomers by heating, there are many persistent plastics for which environmentally friendly recycling methods have not yet been established. 

We recently started a project focusing on catalyst development for degradation of tough materials such as thermosetting resins represented by epoxy resins and polyureas. Efficient bond cleavage allowed efficient molecular weight loss. In addition, polyolefin (a general term for polyethylene and polypropylene) which makes up about half of the total plastic production, often used for containers and packaging, is mainly recycled by gasification and oilification. Our efforts are also devoted to introduction of triggers for degradation to polyolefins by catalyst development.