ORNL, Washington State researchers craft recipe for tunable shape-memory polymer
(May 21, 2015) Not all plastics are created equal. Malleable thermoplastics can be easily melted and reused in products such as food containers. Other plastics, called thermosets, are essentially stuck in their final form because of cross-linking chemical bonds that give them their strength for applications such as golf balls and car tires.
“Nobody takes a thermoset and recycles it like you would a water bottle,” said Orlando Rios from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Rios and a team of researchers from Washington State University and the University of Idaho have developed a process to make a thermoset that can be reshaped and reused. The team’s study, published in the journal Macromolecules, is featured on the current issue’s cover.