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Effect of different washing conditions on the removal efficiency of selected compounds in biopolymers

  • Received: 21 February 2023 Revised: 29 June 2023 Accepted: 05 July 2023 Published: 18 July 2023
  • Recycling of plastic materials is a key sustainability topic. Hence, the scope of this study is to evaluate the potential of this purification step for achieving high-purity recyclates via mechanical recycling. In this study, the focus is set on the revalorization of poly(3-hydroxy butyrate) and poly(3-hydroxy butyrate-co-3-hydroxy valerate)—two biobased and biodegradable polymers that have properties similar to those of polyolefins and are therefore possible eco-friendly alternatives. Specifically, the washing process as an important part of polymer recycling processes is evaluated regarding different washing conditions on a laboratory scale. For this purpose, several virgin polymers were contaminated with volatile organic compounds that differed in functionality and molecular weight. Regarding contamination, concentration correlates with contamination time. Moreover, the contamination degree was found to be higher for polar contaminants since polar compounds show higher compatibility with the polymer. General beneficial effects of higher temperatures and longer washing times were observed. The choice of washing medium was relevant for different polarities of the contaminants. At higher process temperatures, material degradation occurred. Hence, recyclers have to pay attention to the difference in the interaction between impurities and the polymer and to the degradation of the polymer during recycling and the subsequent formation of degradation products. Since these biopolymers display comparable properties to polyolefins, great potential in packaging applications is apparent. Moreover, the method of analyzing the removal efficiency of volatile organic compounds via washing can be applied to all recyclable polymers.

    Citation: Konstanze Kruta, Jörg Fischer, Peter Denifl, Christian Paulik. Effect of different washing conditions on the removal efficiency of selected compounds in biopolymers[J]. Clean Technologies and Recycling, 2023, 3(3): 134-147. doi: 10.3934/ctr.2023009

    Related Papers:

  • Recycling of plastic materials is a key sustainability topic. Hence, the scope of this study is to evaluate the potential of this purification step for achieving high-purity recyclates via mechanical recycling. In this study, the focus is set on the revalorization of poly(3-hydroxy butyrate) and poly(3-hydroxy butyrate-co-3-hydroxy valerate)—two biobased and biodegradable polymers that have properties similar to those of polyolefins and are therefore possible eco-friendly alternatives. Specifically, the washing process as an important part of polymer recycling processes is evaluated regarding different washing conditions on a laboratory scale. For this purpose, several virgin polymers were contaminated with volatile organic compounds that differed in functionality and molecular weight. Regarding contamination, concentration correlates with contamination time. Moreover, the contamination degree was found to be higher for polar contaminants since polar compounds show higher compatibility with the polymer. General beneficial effects of higher temperatures and longer washing times were observed. The choice of washing medium was relevant for different polarities of the contaminants. At higher process temperatures, material degradation occurred. Hence, recyclers have to pay attention to the difference in the interaction between impurities and the polymer and to the degradation of the polymer during recycling and the subsequent formation of degradation products. Since these biopolymers display comparable properties to polyolefins, great potential in packaging applications is apparent. Moreover, the method of analyzing the removal efficiency of volatile organic compounds via washing can be applied to all recyclable polymers.



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