Materials

Plastics recycled with acid

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
509,
Page:
403
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/509403c
Published online

The plastics often found in electronics typically cannot be recycled, but researchers have come up with a way of producing polymers that can be broken down into reusable monomers using acid.

Jeannette Garcia and James Hedrick at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, and their colleagues created a strong and stable material called a thermoset polymer, used in automotive, aerospace and electronic parts. They linked together amine-based monomers with paraformaldehyde to form the thermoset. By exposing the material to acid solutions of less than pH 2, the researchers ended up with the monomer building blocks that they could then reuse.

Science 344, 732735 (2014)

Additional data