Northwestern Events Calendar


PEPH Hybrid Event: Plastics Redesign for Circularity

When: Monday, November 13, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT

Where: Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, 1 (1.230), 2133 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Mike McMahon  

Group: Trienens Institute

Category: Lectures & Meetings, Environment & Sustainability


Lunch provided -- registration required -- space is limited.

Join Dr. Brett A. Helms for "Plastics Redesign for Circularity" on November 13 at 12pm CT.

What: "Plastics Redesign for Circularity"

Who: Dr. Brett A. Helms, Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

When: Monday, November 13 | 12–1pm CT

Where: Hybrid event | Ford Design Studio 1 (1.230) and virtual

Summary:  One of the goals of a circular economy is to design-out waste and pollution by re-orienting industry around materials that can be repeatedly reused and recycled. For polymers used in plastics, elastomers, and thermosets, those in use today were never designed to be recycled. As a result, they have accumulated in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems throughout the world in such alarming quantities that a legally-binding global plastics treaty is under development, regulating future plastics use in the manufacturing economy. If circularity is to be realized broadly, new polymer chemistries are needed for deconstructing both simple and complex products such that monomers, additives, fillers, and other materials to be reused in manufacturing without loss in performance or aesthetics. In this seminar, Dr. Helms will describe efforts to address these challenges using polydiketoenamine resins (PDK), which undergo reversible polymerization using atom- and energy-efficient processes. PDK resins lay the groundwork for how to commodify polymers as highly valuable, renewable resources for a circular economy.

This conversation is part of the seminar series hosted by the Program on Plastics, Ecosystems, and Public Health at the Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy. This event is co-hosted with William Dichtel and the Northwestern Department of Chemistry.

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