Strategies to Access Renewable Polymer Materials for a Circular Future
Extractive linear economy is unsustainable and needs a fundamental change. Transitioning to a circular economy will guarantee a positive future for the upcoming generations, and to this end, our research platform focuses on the development of new synthetic methodologies for recyclable polymers.
Circular Economy Model Based on Polymer Ligation
Polymer ligation via click chemistry is a well-established field for the construction of polymer architectures. The reversibility of such systems, however, is relatively under explored. Our group seeks to introduce reversible functionalities, such as those based on iminoboronic esters, into polymer building blocks using a link and pin strategy. This approach allows the construction of diverse polymer architectures that can be deconstructed by removing the linchpin in the polymer backbone.
Bioderived Polymers via Ring Opening Metathesis Polymerization
Exploring reactions and renewable monomers to make polymers is an alternative to non-renewable polymers derived from oil. We work in the polymerization of sorbitol-derived monomers using ROMP. These new polymers will have a tremendous impact in the polymer chemistry field due to their hard/flexible backbone, degradability, and the possibility of functionalization.
Recycling of Thermosets Via Mechanical Activation of Covalent Adaptable Networks (CANs)
Incorporation of CANs in thermosets materials enables polymers with chemical crosslinks to be reshaped and reprocessed leading to their ability to be recycled. Current work focuses on the development and incorporation of novel reversible bond-linkage groups in crosslinked polymers and their reprocessing using heat and/or light. Instead, we are interested in the mechanochemical activation of dynamic bonds in thermosets to enable subsequent mechanical reprocessing. Moreover, a judicious use of mechanical force will lower the activation energy of the reversible crosslink reaction that will allow facile interchange under mild conditions.