Unmet Need: Environmental friendly and cost-effective degradation of epoxies
Recycling of thermosetting polymers is both economically and environmentally important due to the prevalence of polymers in landfills. Strong alkali or acid have been used for this purpose. Harsh chemicals would result in environmental pollution as well as it would turn the thermosetting polymer in to complex mixture rendering it to be a secondary waste
The Technology: Using organic salts as catalyst for the chemical degradation
Researchers at WSU have proposed use of a series of organic salts as effective catalysts for degradation of epoxies and fiber reinforced epoxies. Low corrosive anions in organic salts can improve the swelling of the epoxy in water, which facilitate the permeation of cations into thermosetting polymer and eventually break down the chemical bonds of the polymer. This is because the organic salt can exist in an intermediate state of organic acid and metal ion complex in protic solvents.
• Direct application in waste disposal processes and management for chemical industries and Environmental clean-up services industry
• The anions of organic salts used are much less corrosive.
• Operates at much milder reaction temperature (<200.C).
• Addition of decomposed matrix polymer (DMP) still retains the baseline mechanical properties of thermosetting polymer.
• This system is environment friendly and cost effective.
Patent application filed.