Title: Designing Polymers with the End in Mind: Creating circular routes to polymers using light-based strategies
Abstract: One of the unresolved consequences of the massive global production of plastic is the lack of proper waste management. As a consequence of technological limitations as well as inefficient collection and sorting methods, current recycling schemes are underperforming. In part this is a result of the inherent linear design of our polymer systems, and lack of consideration of waste management and environmental impact of the waste that does escape into the environment, at the polymer design stage. We, among others, are focussing on creating tools that could be applied to design polymers ‘with the end in mind’ – i.e. to incorporate chemical bonding that can be easily processed to make polymers but readily reversed either ‘on demand’ for recycling, or upon exposure to environmental triggers. To this end, we have focussed on two different aspects of this challenge: (1) to design photoset materials that can be processed by advanced methods such as additive manufacturing that are sustainably sourced but can be readily circularised in a closed loop process and (2) to apply efficient click chemistries for the synthesis of polymers that not only have useful properties and inherent recyclability but also degrade to specific and predictable, non toxic by products upon exposure to light.
Bio: website at: https://www.dovegrouplab.com/group/andrew-p-dove/