The use of metal-organic containers reduces plastics

remake plastic bottles

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What if the life of the plastic bottle was round? Where a used plastic bottle is returned, it is ready to be made into a new plastic bottle before it is finished on land.

A Northwestern University research group was the first to show a material called a metal-organic framework (MOF) that is solid and selected for breaking up plastic-based polyester into its pieces.

Only three components are needed: plastic, hydrogen and catalyst. An important bonus is that some of the fragments are broken down into terephthalic acid, a chemical used to make plastic. With the Northwest route, there is no need to go back all the way to oil and expensive and energy production and separation of xylenes.

“We can do better than just starting from scratch when it comes to making plastic bottles,” said Omar Farha, a professor of chemistry at Weinberg College of Arts. and Sciences. He is the authoritative author of the study. “Our work is much cleaner.”

The work was published in a journal ʻO Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

The researchers chose a zirconium-based MOF called UiO-66 because it is easy to make, scalable and simple. Yufang Wu, the study’s lead author and a visiting student at Farha’s group, used the simplest plastic: plastic water bottles thrown by his colleagues in the lab. He cut them, heated the plastic and put the catalyst.

“The MOF is better than we expected,” Farha said. “We found that the catalyst was a good and stable choice. The color of the plastic bottle or plastic bags was not made differently from the effect of the catalyst’s effectiveness.”

What are MOFs?

A class of nano-sized materials, MOFs have been widely researched due to their highly ordered properties. Farha has been studying MOFs for ten years and has previously shown that they can be used to control nerves. In the current research, Farha said, MOFs work similarly – to break an ester bond to degrade polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This plastic is one of the most popular consumer plastics in the world.

“We’ve been using zirconium MOFs to lower nerve endings for years,” Farha says. “Then the team thinks if these MOFs can degrade plastic if the results and materials are different.

“This research is helping to solve the long -standing problems associated with plastic waste and opening up new areas and applications for MOFs,” Farha said.

Think Tinkertoys

MOFs are made with organic molecules and metal ions or compounds that come together to form multidimensional, large crystalline, porous frameworks. To get the shape of a MOF, Farha said, consider a Tinkertoys group where the metal ions or groups are circles or particles and molecules. naturally the rods hold the nodes.

In addition to being easy to make, it can also be simple and easy, the other good of UiO-66 is that it is an organic compound of MOF, terephthalic acid (TA), which is what you get. and when breaking the plastic.

Studies have shown that during the degradation, UiO-66 was converted to a zirconium-based MOF called MIL-140A. This MOF also showed the best catalytic activity in relation to PET degradation.

The title of the paper is “Catalytic Degradation of Polyethylene Terephthalate Using a Phase-Transitional Zirconium-Based Metal-Organic Framework.”


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More information:
Yufang Wu et al, Catalytic Degradation of Polyethylene Terephthalate Using a Phase – Transitional Zirconium – Based Metal – Organic Framework, ʻO Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2022). DOI: 10.1002 / anie.202117528

Presented by Northwestern University

Directions: Using metal-organic frameworks to degrade plastics (2022, April 13) Retrieved 13 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-metal-organic-frameworks -degrade-plastics.html

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