Vitrimer : Sustainable Plastic
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have successfully created “sustainable plastic,” which is based on an epoxy resin vitrimer.
- Vitrimer represent a relatively recent category of plastics known for their impressive strength at low temperatures.
- They also possess the unique ability to be reshaped numerous times when exposed to higher temperatures.
- It is also partially biodegradable.
- To address this issue, researchers introduced a molecule called polyrotaxane into the plastic synthesis process, resulting in a novel plastic variant they’ve dubbed VPR, an abbreviation for “vitrimer incorporated with polyrotaxane.”
- VPR is over five times as resistant to breaking as a typical epoxy resin vitrimer.
- At a high temperature of around 150 degrees Celsius, VPR starts to recombine, allowing the material to take on different forms.
- It also repairs itself 15 times as fast, can recover its original memorised shape twice as fast, and can be chemically recycled 10 times as fast as the typical vitrimer.
- It even biodegrades safely in a marine environment, which is new for this material.