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Issue 10, 2009
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Degradation of poly(ethylene terephthalate) using ionic liquids

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The degradation of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) was successfully achieved using ionic liquids. The products were separated according to their solubilities in boiling water. Average molecular weights of the main product were determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC). The physicochemical properties of the product have been characterized by scanning electron microscopy equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray analyzer (SEM/EDX), X-ray diffractometer, infrared spectrometric analyzer, differential scanning calorimeter, and thermogravimetric analysis instrument. The influences of experimental parameters, such as the reaction time, reaction temperature, and addition of different catalysts on the solubility of PET were investigated. A study on the recycling of the ionic liquid shows that ionic liquid could be used repeatedly. Moreover, the solubility of PET in the recycled ionic liquid is higher than that in fresh ionic liquid. Further study shows that the increase of solubility in the recycled ionic liquid is attributable to the presence of a minor amount of water. A mechanism of the degradation of PET in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([bmim]Cl) was proposed. In addition, the kinetics of this reaction was investigated. Results show that this degradation process is a first-order kinetic reaction and the activation energy is 232.79 kJ mol−1.

Graphical abstract: Degradation of poly(ethylene terephthalate) using ionic liquids

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Apr 2009, accepted on 25 Jun 2009 and first published on 16 Jul 2009

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B906831G
Citation: Green Chem., 2009,11, 1568-1575
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    Degradation of poly(ethylene terephthalate) using ionic liquids

    H. Wang, Z. Li, Y. Liu, X. Zhang and S. Zhang, Green Chem., 2009, 11, 1568
    DOI: 10.1039/B906831G

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