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Prof. Gianluca Ciancaleoni, Prof. Elisa Martinelli

Title of the PhD project:
Acidic Deep Eutectic Solvents for the chemical recycling of plastic waste

Abstract of the PhD project:
The global demand for plastics continues to rise. The number of plastics in circulation is projected to increase from 236 to 417 million ton per year by 2030. Transition to a circular economy through reuse or recycle of plastics is essential to prevent increased accidental or purposeful release of polymeric materials into the environment, and thus curb environmental pollution. Mechanical recycling of waste plastic is an essential tool in an environmentally and economically sustainable economy of plastics, but current mechanical recycling processes are limited by cost, degradation of mechanical properties, and general production of downgrading materials. Chemical recycling is gaining interest, as complementary to traditional recycling methods, especially when it is a selective process capable of returning the polymer to its monomeric feedstocks.
The PhD project aims at the synthesis and characterization of new unexpensive MClx-based acidic Deep Eutectic Solvents (aDES) that will be applied for a milder depolymerization process of post-consumer plastics. The nature of metal will be systematically varied to optimize the process. The workup strategy will be optimized in order to obtain the monomer(s) in a purity high enough to be directly reprocessed, paying attention to use only environmentally friendly solvents and processes. Eventually, with the collaboration of Gr3n Recycling company, it will be possible to obtain a preliminary assessment of the industrial applicability of aDESs.

• Rollo, M., Raffi, F., Rossi, E., Tiecco, M., Martinelli, E., Ciancaleoni, G., Depolymerization of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) under mild conditions by Lewis/Brønsted acidic deep eutectic solvents, Chemical Engineering Journal, 2023, 456, 141092.
• Guazzelli, E., Rollo, M., Oliva M., Cardone, S., Pretti, C., Maniero, F., Martinelli, E., Amphiphilic Surface-Active Methacrylic Urethane Additives for the Design of Photopolymerized Coatings with Great Potential for Marine Fouling-Release Applications, Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, 2023, 2300280.
• Rollo, M., Perini, M.A.G., Sanzone, A., Polastri, L., Tiecco, M., Torregrosa-Chinillach, A., Martinelli, E., Ciancaleoni, G., Effect of chloride salts and microwaves on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) hydrolysis by iron chloride/acetic acid Lewis/Brønsted acidic deep eutectic solvent, RSC Sustainability, 2023, 10.1039/d3su00205e.
• Pelosi, C., Quaranta, A., Rollo, M., Martinelli, E., Duce, C., Ciancaleoni, G., Bernazani, L., Preparation and Characterization of Zinc(II)-Based Lewis/Brønsted Acidic Deep Eutectic Solvents; Molecules, 2023, 28(24), 8054.

Oral communications at conferences:
• Chemical depolymerization of polyethylene terephthalate using Lewis-Brønsted acid mixtures – 16,17 June 2022, Florence (Italy) – “Macrogiovani 2022 Associazione Italiana Macromolecole” – M. Rollo, G. Ciancaleoni, E. Martinelli.

Poster communications at conferences:
• Chemical depolymerization of polyethylene terephthalate using Lewis-Brønsted acid mixtures – 6/9 September 2022, Pisa (Italy) – “XLVIII Congresso Nazionale di Chimica Inorganica” – M. Rollo, G. Ciancaleoni, E. Martinelli.
• Depolymerization of post-consumer PET under mild conditions by Lewis/Brønsted acidic deep eutectic solvents– 23/27 April 2023, Paris (France) – “Advanced Polymers Via Macromolecular Engineering Congress” – M. Rollo, F. Raffi, E. Rossi, M. Tiecco, E. Martinelli, G. Ciancaleoni.

Other achievements:


Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale
Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry
Via G. Moruzzi, 13 - Pisa, Italy
Corso di Dottorato in Scienze Chimiche e dei Materiali
Doctoral School in Chemistry and Material Science
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