- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: key features, need and significance of the new material.
Context: US researchers have designed a fully recyclable plastic which can be disassembled into its constituent parts at molecular level. The name of newly created recyclable plastic is Poly (Diketoenamine), or PDK.
- Unlike conventional plastics, the monomers of PDK plastic could be recovered and freed from any compounded additives simply by dunking the material in a highly acidic solution.
- It can be fully recycled into new materials of any form, shape or colour without any loss of its performance or quality.
- Not only does acid break down PDK polymers into monomers, but the process also allows the monomers to be separated from entwined additives.
The new material takes recycling into consideration from a molecular perspective. It means that this recyclable plastic can be disassembled into its constituent parts at molecular level.
Most of the plastic products are made of large molecules called polymers. It is composed of various units of small carbon compounds named monomers. Manufacturers generally add chemicals to make plastic more useful.
When these plastics, with different chemical composition, go to processing unit are mixed and ground together into smaller pieces. After that plastic goes to the melting unit to make a new material, it becomes difficult to identify true properties.
Sources: the Hindu.