New plastic collapses in sunlight and oxygen in a week

Scientists want to make changes to the plastic manufacturing process to create ubiquitous material forms that can be decomposed in the environment much safer and faster than current versions. Chinese researchers have shown this new example of deterioration in just one week when exposed to sunlight and oxygen. We believe that this will create electronic devices that are easy to dispose of at the end of their lifespan.

The new material was created when Liang Luo, a research author at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, was working on an advanced type of chemical sensor. PNAS.. Materials scientists have developed a new polymer film that changes color depending on the pH level. This process was driven by the unique molecular structure of the material, where the monomeric chains give the film a crimson color and remove it when these bonds are broken.

Through his team’s experiments, Luo discovered that the crimson color of the film quickly disappeared and the material broke in the sunlight for a few days.Breaking these bonds Common purpose In a research effort to better recycle plastics, and in doing so, Luo may have inadvertently come up with a promising and environmentally friendly version of the material.

The molecular structure of plastics means that it is not suitable for use in soda bottles or shopping bags, as it is stable only as a functional material without oxygen in the dark. However, when exposed to sunlight and air, it collapses rapidly, completely decomposing within a week, leaving no environmentally damaging microplastic debris. A by-product of this process is naturally occurring succinic acid, which can be upcycled for commercial use in pharmaceuticals and foods.

However, plastic can be used in flexible electronics and smartphones that are isolated from air and light for their useful life. Luo believes that materials can last for years when used this way, making it easy to dispose of these types of devices after use. He plans to continue exploring the possibilities of these types of degradable plastics, but states that commercialization is still a few years away.

The study was published in Journal of the American Chemical Society..

Source: PNAS New plastic collapses in sunlight and oxygen in a week

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