Hydrochemolytic Upcycling of Polyethylene: An Efficient, Lower-Energy Technology to Produce Paraffins in High Yield and Purity

anil jhawar

This new technology overcomes both the inherent difficulty of chemically recycling addition polymers like polyethylene (PE) and the energy intensity of thermolytic methods. From polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene to tire rubber, the principal challenge in chemically transforming addition-reaction polymers is their chemical inertness. Indeed, like its lower-molecular-weight, paraffinic homologs, PE is “parum affinis” (Lat., without affinity): it is relatively unreactive. Thermolytic methods overcome that inertness by thermally energizing all bonds in PE, both C-H and C-C, thereby “pushing” them over the activation barrier to bond-breaking.

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