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A Cleavable Crosslinking Strategy for Commodity Polymer Functionalization and Generation of Reprocessable Thermosets

Von Wiley-VCH zur Verfügung gestellt

Covalently crosslinked polymeric materials, known as thermosets, possess enhanced mechanical strength and thermal stability relative to the corresponding uncrosslinked thermoplastics. However, the presence of covalent inter-chain crosslinks that makes thermosets so attractive is precisely what makes them so difficult to reprocess and recycle. Here, we demonstrate the introduction of chemically cleavable groups into a bis-diazirine crosslinker. Application of this cleavable crosslinker reagent to commercial low-functionality polyolefins (or to a small-molecule model) results in the rapid, efficient introduction of molecular crosslinks that can be uncoupled by specific chemical inputs. These proof-of-concept findings provide one potential strategy for circularization of the thermoplastic/thermoset plastics economy, and may allow crosslinked polyolefins to be manufactured, used, reprocessed, and re-used without losing value. As an added benefit, the method allows the ready introduction of functionality into non-functionalized commodity polymers.

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