CSP Investigator Will Dichtel led the development of a new recycling method for polyurethane foams using safe and sustainable catalysts.
In the study, polyurethane undergoes a chemical reaction with heat and the introduction of a zirconium-based catalyst and foaming agent. The polymer “refoams” keeping its chemical and structural integrity.
The study published in Advanced Materials sheds light on the aspect of “circular life cycle” for plastics, which refers to the reprocessing and remanufacturing of materials with little to no loss in its value and quality.
This research was supported in part by the NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers.
Learn more about this on Northwestern Now.
Image courtesy of Northwestern University.