Polyurethanes (PUs), in the form of coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, and foams, play a vital role in the consumer goods, automotive, and construction industries. However, the inevitable disposal of nondegradable postconsumer polyurethane products constitutes a massive waste management problem that has yet to be solved. We address this challenge through the synthesis of biobased and chemically recyclable polyurethanes. Our approach employs renewable and degradable hydroxy telechelic poly(β-methyl-δ-valerolactone) as a replacement for petroleum-derived polyols in the synthesis of both thermoplastic polyurethanes and flexible foams. These materials rival petroleum-derived PUs in performance and can also be easily recycled to recover β-methyl-δ-valerolactone monomer in high purity and high yield. This recycling strategy bypasses many of the technical challenges that currently preclude the practical chemical recycling of PUs.
How much support was provided by MRSEC?
Reporting period for MRSEC
- Period 3