European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

Reversing Controlled Radical Polymerisation: Towards Complete Depolymerisation

Project description

A universal approach to converting polymers back into monomers

Controlled radical polymerisation has revolutionised the field of polymer chemistry, enabling the synthesis of a wide range of materials with controlled molecular weight, polymer dispersity and structure. On the other hand, controlled depolymerisation – the recovery of the starting monomer from polymers – has been poorly explored. The overall aim of the EU-funded DEPO project is to develop a universal, quantitative and controlled method of depolymerisation that enables polymers synthesised by controlled radical polymerisation to be converted back into monomers. Although this method will initially target polymers synthesised by atom transfer radical polymerisation systems, it will subsequently be applied to polymers synthesised by reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer and nitroxide-mediated radical polymerisation.

Objective

Controlled radical polymerisation has revolutionised the field of polymer chemistry by allowing access to the synthesis of a wide range of materials with controlled molecular weight, dispersity, architecture and end-group fidelity. Although thousands of papers have reported on optimising the polymerisation parameters, very few reports have focused on reversing controlled radical polymerisation. This is a significant oversight, as controlled depolymerisation has the potential not only to reveal intriguing avenues of research, but also to pave the way for promising applications including innovative polymer characterisation methodologies. The overall vision of DEPO is to develop a universal, quantitative and controlled depolymerisation of polymers (i.e. converting polymers back to the corresponding monomers) synthesised mainly by controlled radical polymerisation. Although this strategy will initially be developed for atom transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP) systems, it will be expanded to include reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) and nitroxide-mediated polymerisation (NMP) protocols. Widely-used polymers synthesised by other methods such as polystyrene will also be modified to permit for depolymerisation. Importantly, this approach will operate at room temperature and will be applicable to a range of polymer classes and architectures (block copolymers, stars, etc.). The fundamental outcomes of this research will inform depolymerisation design strategies and will pave the way for additional opportunities such as advanced polymer characterisation.

Host institution

EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH
Net EU contribution
€ 1 491 260,00
Address
Raemistrasse 101
8092 Zuerich
Switzerland

See on map

Region
Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 1 491 260,00

Beneficiaries (1)