Catalytic Degradation of Thermosetting Polymers in Sulfones under Atmospheric Pressure: Approaches and Techniques

Unmet Need: The imperative need for chemical recycling of thermosets and thermoset composites

Management of thermosetting polymers and their composites is becoming a serious public concern. The demand for an eco-friendly and economically viable recycling technology that is suitable for industrial scale-up is crucial. Performing chemical recycling under atmospheric pressure is always desirable. WSU inventors invented catalytic degradation of thermosetting polymers and their composites in high boiling point polar aprotic sulfolane and sulfolane derivatives. 


The Technology: Introduced a method for catalytic degradation of the thermosetting materials under atmospheric pressure

WSU inventors introduced a novel approach for catalytic degradation of the thermosetting materials, utilizing an eco-friendly solvent and a low catalyst concentration under atmospheric pressure. Inventors discovered that sulfolane with a high boiling point is an effective solvent for epoxy decomposition at low concentrations of catalyst at 230oC under atmospheric pressure. The derivatives of sulfolane ensure the swelling and facilities the decomposition of the thermosetting polymer. Following degradation, the catalytic solution can be recovered and reused for the next reaction.


  • Polymer Recycling
  • Waste Management Reducing Environmental Impact
  • Automotive Industry
  • Biomedical Applications
  • Energy Storage


  • Lower operating costs
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Improved reaction selectivity and Reduced processing time
  • Easier scale-up

Patent Information:

Provisional patent application has been filed.

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Punam Dalai
Technology Licensing Associate
Washington State University
(509) 335-1216
Reference No: TECH-23/3509


Jinwen Zhang
Baoming Zhao
Wangcheng Liu
Yiding Cao

Key Words