An effective method to make polymers degrade readily: spatial isomerization
The widespread application of hydrocarbon polymers has spurred an increasing interest in the study of their degradation mechanism. In general, the chemical inertness of polymers makes their degradation by low-energy processes a challenging problem. Herein, we report a method of spatial isomerization to make polymers degrade easily. The first-principles calculations show that the energy barrier required for degradation reaction is directly related to the spatial arrangement of the polymer, with the isotactic structure and most atactic structures being easier to degrade than the syndiotactic structure. Therefore, a new way to accelerate the degradation by achieving spatial isomerization of polymers has been proposed. Furthermore, the synthesis rates of these structures have also been calculated to support future experiments.