Looking for a challenging researcher position? Join us in developing sustainable polymers for continuous reuse and recycling. This innovative project focuses on designing and synthesizing novel polymeric structures and monomers that can switch between polymerized and depolymerized states. You'll have the opportunity to test new materials and contribute to a sustainable future, and advance your career in an exciting research environment.Job Description
In polymeric materials, a fundamental transition is required from synthesis out of fossil-based feedstock and one time use to continuous re-use and recycling of polymeric products. Most of the plastics that is recycled currently goes through mechanical and thermal processing to re-make other plastic products, e.g., thermoplastics such as PE, PP, PET. Thermosetting plastics and resins cannot be easily chemically or mechanically recycled. Chemical recycling for instance requires much energy and harsh reaction conditions, and creates an inseparable mixture of oligomers.
In this project, the focus of the research will be on existing polymers as well as designing and synthesis of novel polymeric structures more amenable to recycling, including smart new monomers that can switch between polymerized and depolymerized states, using energy efficient processes. The key is incorporation of suitable degradable functional groups or smart monomers into the polymers in their design stage ('design for recycling'' approach). The research will include the design and synthesis of new monomers including the use of bio-based raw materials, preparation of polymers and elucidation of structure-property relationships, chemical depolymerization, separation and recovery of building blocks and proof of concept for 'closed-loop' recycling. The research activities will include understanding of performance profile of new materials and elucidation of structure property relationships by means of various chemical, structural, rheological and mechanical characterization techniques. Group Polymer Performance Materials
The PD research will be carried out under the supervision of Prof. Željko Tomović in the Polymer Performance Materials group in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e, which is also the part of the interdisciplinary Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS), in which all polymer-related research groups at the TU/e participate. A description of the group can be found here: https://www.tue.nl/en/research/research-groups/polymer-performance-materials