Graduate Research School Available Projects Optimal blend of recycled plastics for environmental and physical characteristics

Optimal blend of recycled plastics for environmental and physical characteristics

Title of Project

Optimal blend of recycled plastics for environmental and physical characteristics


Dr Greg Wheatley

College or Research Centre

College of Science & Engineering

Summary of Project

“Polymeric materials can be classified as thermosets and thermoplastics. Thermoset polymers refer to the irreversible polymerization and this type of polymer is cured by chemical reaction or heat and becomes infusible and insoluble material. Thermoplastics are made up of linear molecular chains and this polymer softens on heating and hardens when cooled. Thermoplastic polymers are represented by a large range of plastic materials. There are three types of thermoplastic polymers: - Crystalline thermoplastics, usually translucent with molecular chains which present a regular arrangement. Compared to other types, these polymers have more mechanical impact resistance. Examples of this type of polymers are polypropylene (PP), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). - Amorphous thermoplastics, usually transparent with the molecules arranged randomly. Examples of this type of polymers are poly vinyl chloride (PVC), polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), polycarbonate (PC), polystyrene (PS), and acrylonitrilebutadiene styrene (ABS). - Semi-crystalline polymers present combined properties of crystalline polymers and amorphous polymers. The representative polymers of this group are polyester polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polyamide Imide (PAI). These polymers present unique properties (physical, thermal and electrical) that make them suitable for many applications. The injection modeling process is the main technique of polymer processing which allows the fabrication of different kinds of parts, such as the computer mouse. These plastic materials can be modeled into a variety of products for a wide range of applications due to the fact that thermoplastic polymers are inexpensive, lightweight and durable. In the last decades, the production of plastics has increased significantly causing a big problem in the whole world regarding the discarded end-of-life plastics which are accumulated as debris in landfills and in natural habitats worldwide and by the management methods related to constantly growing resources of plastics. In the last years, the problem of recycled plastics was attempted to be solved by several methods (such as mechanical recycling or chemical recycling) leading to products ready to be used in determined conditions, in the most economic, ecological and rational way.” This project will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of thermoplastic polymers used in industrial applications, the processes used in the recycling and optimal blending for both environmental and physical characteristics.

Key Words

Laboratory testing; prototype testing

Would suit an applicant who

has a sound academic background, research experience, an interest in chemical and mechanical engineering and strong experimental and computational skills.

Updated: 14 May 2020