Researchers at the National University of Singapore have made a significant contribution to tackling the global problem of plastic waste by creating a way to convert plastic bottle waste into aerogel for many useful applications. Plastic bottles are usually made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most recycled plastic in the world. The research team led by the National University of Singapore used plastic bottle scrap to develop pet aerogels-the world's first-soft, flexible, durable, very light and easy to handle. They also have excellent thermal insulation properties and strong absorptive capacity.
These features give them a wide range of application prospects, such as building insulation and soundproofing, oil cleaning, as well as light linings for fire suits and carbon dioxide absorption masks, which can be used for fire rescue and escape. Plastic waste is toxic and non-biodegradable. Such waste often ends up in oceans and landfills, affecting marine life and causing problems such as groundwater pollution and land scarcity.
Globally, annual consumption of plastic bottles has been growing steadily, with annual consumption expected to exceed 5 trillion tonnes by 2021. Plastic bottle waste is one of the most common plastic waste and has an adverse effect on the environment. The team developed a simple, economical and environmentally friendly approach to converting plastic bottle waste into pet aerogels for a variety of applications. A plastic bottle can be recycled to produce A4 sized pet aerogel film. This manufacturing technology is also easy to produce on a large scale.
In this way, we can help reduce the environmental hazards of plastic waste. The team spent two years (from August 2016 to August 2018) developing technology for the manufacture of pet aerogels. The pet aerogel is used in a wide range of applications. We can give them different surface treatments to customize them for different applications. For example, when adding different methyl, pet aerogel can absorb a lot of oil very quickly.
According to our experiments, they perform seven times times more than existing commercial adsorbent and are ideal for cleaning up oil spills.
Lighter and safer fire suits Another novel application is to use the thermal insulation properties of pet aerogel for fire safety applications. Existing fire suits are bulky and often used with other breathing and safety equipment.
This could be damaging to firefighters, especially in long-term operations. After the new lightweight pet aerogel is coated with flame retardant, it has excellent heat resistance and stability. It can withstand temperatures of 620 degrees Celsius-7 times times the insulation of traditional fire suits, but weighs only about 10% of the traditional insulating layer.
The soft and flexible pet aerogel also provides greater comfort.
By using pet aerogels coated with flame retardants as lining materials, firefighters ' coats can become lighter, safer and cheaper, and can also produce low-cost heat-resistant jackets for personal use.
Two-in-oneness mask for absorbing harmful carbon dioxide and dust particles When Dang tu have amine compounds, pet aerogels can quickly absorb carbon dioxide from the environment. Its absorptive capacity is comparable to that of the materials used in gas masks, which are expensive and bulky.
To illustrate the application, the team embedded a thin layer of pet aerogel into a commercial fine particle mask to create a prototype mask that effectively absorbs dust particles and absorbs carbon dioxide effectively.
In highly urbanized countries like Singapore, carbon dioxide absorption masks and heat-resistant jackets made from pet aerogels can be put together with fire extinguishers in high-rise buildings to provide more protection when civilians escape from fires. Researchers at the National University of Singapore are also working on simple surface modification of pet aerogels to absorb toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, the deadliest ingredient in smog.
In their early work, the team has successfully converted paper and fashion waste into cellulose and cotton aerogels, respectively.
The research team has patented its new pet aerogel technology and will continue to improve the performance of pet aerogels and explore new applications. Treasure! Plastic bottle scrap can be converted into ultra-light super material