Acidolysis of Poly(ethylene terephthalate) Waste Using Succinic Acid under Microwave Irradiation as a New Chemical Upcycling Method

ACS Omega. 2022 Dec 8;7(50):47285-47295. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.2c06642. eCollection 2022 Dec 20.


A novel method of chemical upcycling of used poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) bottles by acidolysis with succinic acid (SA) was performed under microwave irradiation. The long polyester chain of PET was efficiently fragmented into small molecules and oligomers, such as terephthalic acid and α,ω-dicarboxylic acid oligo(ethylene succinate-co-terephthalate) (OEST). Various input molar ratios of SA/PET from 1.0 to 2.5 were used, and the product mixtures were separated successfully. The recovered terephthalic acid can be reused as a basic chemical. The α,ω-dicarboxylic acid OEST was used as a curing agent for epoxy resin. The recovered SA can be reused for further PET acidolysis. Structures of OEST were identified by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, 1H NMR spectroscopy, and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). The presence of succinic anhydride as a side product was confirmed by FTIR and ESI-MS analyses. The evaporation of SA and the formation of volatile succinic anhydride compete with the acidolysis of PET. The minimum SA/PET ratio of 1.0 was selected so that the acidolysis was effective and without the SA recovery step by MEK treatment. OEST-1.0 was used for curing diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A. The structures and thermal properties of cured adducts were confirmed by FTIR and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). This chemical upcycling method of PET is eco-friendly without the use of a solvent and a catalyst for the reaction, and all materials were recovered and they could be reused for novel polymer preparation.

PMID:36570295 | PMC:PMC9773965 | DOI:10.1021/acsomega.2c06642


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