Mechanochemical synthesis of inverse vulcanized polymers

Yan, Peiyao ORCID: 0000-0001-7377-1808, Zhao, Wei ORCID: 0000-0003-0265-2590, McBride, Fiona ORCID: 0000-0003-2985-3173, Cai, Diana, Dale, Joseph, Hanna, Veronica and Hasell, Tom ORCID: 0000-0003-4736-0604
(2022) Mechanochemical synthesis of inverse vulcanized polymers. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 13 (1). 4824-.

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Inverse vulcanization, a sustainable platform, can transform sulfur, an industrial by-product, into polymers with broad promising applications such as heavy metal capture, electrochemistry and antimicrobials. However, the process usually requires high temperatures (≥159 °C), and the crosslinkers needed to stabilize the sulfur are therefore limited to high-boiling-point monomers only. Here, we report an alternative route for inverse vulcanization-mechanochemical synthesis, with advantages of mild conditions (room temperature), short reaction time (3 h), high atom economy, less H<sub>2</sub>S, and broader monomer range. Successful generation of polymers using crosslinkers ranging from aromatic, aliphatic to volatile, including renewable monomers, demonstrates this method is powerful and versatile. Compared with thermal synthesis, the mechanochemically synthesized products show enhanced mercury capture. The resulting polymers show thermal and light induced recycling. The speed, ease, versatility, safety, and green nature of this process offers a more potential future for inverse vulcanization, and enables further unexpected discoveries.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sulfur, Polymers, Electrochemistry, Transition Temperature, Recycling
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Physical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2022 10:33
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 20:47
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32344-7
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