Photolytically degradable, hydrolytically degradable, and chemically recyclable commodity plastics

How to Apply

Interested in participating in this research project? Contact the professor or graduate student listed below.


Dr. Li Jia (Polymer Science) |

Graduate Student

Yiwei Dai

Project Description

“White pollution” is a problem of massive scale. To replace the current nondegradable commodity plastics with degradable plastics, a key challenge is that the new raw materials must be readily available at costs comparable to current monomers such as ethylene and propylene. Low-carbon footprint is highly desirable for these raw materials in order to achieve overall environmental sustainability.

We have recently achieved a breakthrough by introducing the zwitterionic principle of designing Ni(II) catalysts for the carbonylative copolymerization of ethylene and cyclic ethers. The resulting polymer is photolytically degreadable and hydrolytically degradable and hence is degradable in a variety of environments on the surface of earth. The polymer is also chemically recyclable. The project will involve improvement of the catalyst and studying the structure-property relationships of the polymers.

Project Date

Any time

Search Terms

Advanced Materials, Sustainability, For Credit, Non-Credit, Funded, STEM