ZOOM LINK: https://kaust.zoom.us/j/93550101701
Abstract: “A European Green Deal: Striving to be the first climate-neutral continent”. This highly ambitious target of the European commission is the inspiration of many actual research targets in polymer science. Which solution can we bring as polymer material scientists to answer this prominent environmental challenge and have a direct impact on the role of polymer materials in a circular economy? Why not try to find a universal solution for recycling and scalable (re)processing of crosslinked, so-called thermosetting materials? Indeed, thermosets are indispensable for many (sustainable) applications, but are also one of the most difficult materials to recycle.
Thermoset recycling is indeed one of the holy grails of the plastic industry, which is currently facing increasingly stringent international regulations to stimulate finding solutions towards the sustainable use of plastics. Regarding the lowering of the carbon footprint of polymer materials, many approaches have been proposed and investigated. Most of them deal with the re-use of thermoplastics (PE, PP, PS,…) but more and more attention is shifting towards the sustainability improvement of thermosets. This class of materials has an annual production of more than 50 million tons but has yet to find its place within a modern circular economy because of the permanently covalent crosslinked nature (e.g. wind blade and tire recycling).
One of the major developments in the thermoset world, from an academic perspective, is the incorporation of exchangeable chemical bonds. This concept of so-called covalent adaptable networks (CANs) is a result of the introduction of reversible covalent bonds within a polymer network, thereby potentially enabling a combination of benefits of the fast processing of thermoplastics and simultaneously the high durability and resistance of thermosets. However, despite the rapid progress made in this field during the last decade, this CAN technology and more specifically so-called vitrimers has not yet been picked up by the large chemical/material industry because of several major limitations. For example, the processing temperatures that would theoretically be required to achieve sufficiently fast processing are beyond the thermal stability limits of most organic materials. This prevents common industrially applied bulk processing techniques such as extrusion or injection moulding.
This presentation will highlight a number of our actual research efforts to overcome remaining limitations of this new generation of polymer materials, mainly based on smart chemical design.1-7
1Maarten Delahaye, Flaminia Tanini, Joshua Holloway, Johan Winne, Filip Du Prez, Polym. Chem., 11, 5207-5215 (2020)
2Yann Spiesschaert, Christian Taplan, Lucas Stricker, Marc Guerre, Johan M. Winne, Filip E. Du Prez, Polym. Chem., 11, 5377-5585 (2020)
3Yann Spiesschaert, Marc Guerre, Ives De Baere, Wim Van Paepegem, Johan M. Winne, Filip E. Du Prez, Macromolecules, 53, 7, 2485–2495 (2020)
4Marc Guerre, Christian Taplan, Johan M. Winne, Filip E. Du Prez, Chem. Sci., 11, 4855-4870 (2020)
5Christian Taplan, Marc Guerre, Johan M. Winne, Filip E. Du Prez, Mater. Horiz., 7, 104-110 (2020)
6 Christian Taplan, Marc Guerre, Filip E. Du Prez, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 143, 9140–9150 (2021)
7 F. Van Lijsebetten, Y. Spiesschaert, J.M. Winne, F.E. Du Prez, J. Am. Chem. Soc., doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c07360 (2021)
Biography: Since 1999, Filip Du Prez is heading the Polymer Chemistry Research group of Ghent University in Belgium with around 25 researchers focusing on three main topics: 1) ‘Sequence defined polymers; 2) ‘Dynamic and circular thermoset materials’; 3) ‘Giving renewable polymers functionality’.
In 2021, he received a prestigious ERC advanced grant from the European commission for his research.
He published around 340 reviewed publications, more than 10 book chapters, 14 patent applications and more than 25 awards for his coworkers in the last 5 years.
Since 2018, he is associate editor for the RSC-journal Polymer Chemistry.