Mild Catalytic Degradation of Crystalline Polyethylene Units in a Solid State Assisted by Carboxylic Acid Groups



Bin Lu, Kohei Takahashi, Jian Zhou, Shintaro Nakagawa, Yuta Yamamoto, Takuya Katashima, Naoko Yoshie, Kyoko Nozaki



Crystalline polyethylenes bearing carboxylic acid groups in the main chain were successfully degraded with a Ce catalyst and visible light. The reaction proceeds in a crystalline solid state without swelling in acetonitrile or water at a reaction temperature as low as 60 or 80 °C, employing dioxygen in air as the only stoichiometric reactant with nearly quantitative recovery of carbon atoms. Heterogeneous features of the reaction allowed us to reveal a dynamic morphological change of polymer crystals during the degradation.




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