Research Highlight: DICHTEL
Reprocessing Postconsumer Polyurethane Foam Using Carbamate Exchange Catalysis and Twin-Screw Extrusion
Polyurethane foam generates a large amount of plastic waste in our environment. Due to its network structure, polyurethane foam is not meltable or moldable at elevated temperatures. We have introduced a catalyst into polyurethane foam that reversibly makes and breaks the network structure at elevated temperatures. This allows for the foam to be reshaped and extruded using a twin-screw extruder which mixes the waste and removes the air from the foam. When this is performed, polyurethane plastic or rubber can be continuously produced from foam waste. The development of this method could lead to the repurposing or upcycling of approximately 13.9 million metric tons of polyurethane foam waste.
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