Professor Rodrigo de Oliveira
Professor Rodrigo de Oliveira (State University of Paraiba, Brazil), Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor
"Giving noble function to plastic pollution: catalytic nanofoams"
Polymer waste in the environment is becoming a serious concern. Polystyrene is a major source of pollution, and giving a new use to it is highly desirable. What about making this pollutant a new player in environmental remediation challenges? Polystyrene dissolves in cyclohexane with a theta temperature around 36 ºC, and below this temperature the system phase separates through a nucleation mechanism. The solvent itself freezes at 6 ºC, so if one quickly freezes a PS/cyclohexane solution, PS will phase separate and the emerging PS particles will be trapped in the frozen solvent. After sublimation of the solvent, a porous PS structure is obtained, and we will demonstrate that this process is useful to make catalytic nanofoams via incorporation of nanoparticles. These new systems could remove the color of dyes and reduce nitroaromatic functions.
Dr Jeroen Van Duijneveldt
School of Chemistry
Tel: (0117) 928 7665