Hydrogenative depolymerization of nylons
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The widespread crisis of plastic pollution demands discovery of new and sustainable approaches to degrade robust plastics such as nylons. Using a green and sustainable approach based on hydrogenation, in the presence of a ruthenium pincer catalyst at 150 oC and 70 bar H2, we report here the first example of hydrogenative depolymerization of conventional, widely used nylons, and polyamides in general. Un-der the same catalytic conditions, we also demonstrate the hydrogenation of a polyurethane to produce diol, diamine and methanol. Additionally, we demonstrate an example where monomers (and oligomers) obtained from the hydrogenation process can be dehydrogenated back to a poly(oligo)amide of approximately similar molecular weight, thus completing a closed loop cycle for recycling of poly-amides. Based on the experimental and DFT studies, we propose a catalytic cycle for the process that is facilitated by metal-ligand cooperativity. Overall, this unprecedented transformation, albeit at the proof of concept level, offers a new approach towards a cleaner route to recycling nylons.
Kumar , A , von Wolff , N , Rauch , M , Zou , Y-Q , Shmul , G , Ben-David , Y , Leitus , G , Avram , L & Milstein , D 2020 , ' Hydrogenative depolymerization of nylons ' , Journal of the American Chemical Society , vol. Articles ASAP . https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.0c05675
Journal of the American Chemical Society
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