The new molecule enables the chemical processing of rubber and plastics

As the amount of rubber and plastic waste on the planet only increases, scientists are increasingly

turn to the future of recirculation systems withclosed loop to reduce waste. A group of researchers from the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University announces the discovery of a new molecule of polybutadiene. Scientists are confident that one day it will help reduce waste by depolymerizing rubber.

AT Nature Chemistry is reported that during polymerization the molecule (1,n'-divinyl) oligocyclobutane, combines in a repeating sequence of squares, a previously unrealized microstructure, which allows the process to go in the opposite direction or depolymerize under certain conditions.

In other words, butadiene can be “buttoned” to create a new polymer; then it can be "unpacked" and a pure monomer can be obtained for reuse.

IRON CATALYZED [2 + 2] OLIGOMERIZATIONBUTADIENE GIVES (1, N'-DIVINYL) OLIGOCYCLOBUTANE, A NEW POLYMER THAT CAN BE CHEMICAL PROCESSED. CREDITS: DRAWING BY JONATHAN DARMON FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CHEMISTRY OF PRINSTON

Research is still in its early stagesstages, and the characteristics of the material have yet to be carefully studied. However, scientists have already created a conceptual precedent for chemical conversion that is not usually considered practical for certain commercial materials.

The fact is that in the past, depolymerizationwas carried out using expensive niche or specialty polymers and only after many steps, but never from a raw material as common as that used to make polybutadiene, one of the seven leading petrochemicals in the world. Butadiene is a common organic compound and a major byproduct in fossil fuel development. Synthetic rubber and plastic products are made from it. Thus, the discovery of a new molecule paves the way for chemically recyclable plastics.

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English - (1, n'-divinyl) oligocyclobutane