Chemical Recycling of Polymethacrylates Synthesized by RAFT Polymerization


  • Hyun Suk Wang Dept. of Materials, Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 5, ETH Zurich
  • Athina Anastasaki Dept. of Materials, Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 5, ETH Zurich



Chemical recycling, Depolymerization, Polymethacrylates, RAFT polymerization


Reversing controlled radical polymerization and regenerating the monomer has been a long-standing challenge for fundamental research and practical applications. Herein, we report a highly efficient depolymerization method for various polymethacrylates synthesized by reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization. The depolymerization process, which does not require any catalyst, exhibits near-quantitative conversions of up to 92%. The key aspect of our approach is the utilization of the high end-group fidelity of RAFT polymers to generate chain-end radicals at 120 °C. These radicals trigger a rapid unzipping of the polymethacrylates. The depolymerization product can be utilized to either reconstruct the linear polymer or create an entirely new insoluble gel that can also be subjected to depolymerization. Our depolymerization strategy offers a promising route towards the development of sustainable and efficient recycling methods for complex polymer materials.




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