Investigation of polyurethane and related polymeric compositions and their degradation

Effectiveness of packaging becomes much better when multilayer films are used, but there are no methods to recycle them. A promising strategy is based on inclusion of encapsulated enzymes into polyurethane adhesives, which are used to bind the film layers together. A system of controlled degradation can be triggered in the waste recycling facility, activating the enzymes, which decompose polyurethane chains and assist in segregating the layers of different polymers. Focus on polymers, enzymes, encapsulation and activation mechanisms for rubber and food industry will be prioritized. Kinetics of polymerization and degradation will be analyzed along with physical mechanical properties. Established relationships will be linked to surface treatment methods, deep eutectic solvents or recycling mechanisms with a purpose to utilize them in developing innovative products. Understanding of biochemistry or polymer chemistry might be useful for this research area.
Doctoral research will be carried out in FTMC Tribology Laboratory using two roll mill HTR-300, CSM and Ducom MicroPoD tribometers, humidity cabinet Memmert HCP-108 for oxidation and hydrolysis, proposed MDR rheometer with a lamination device and various supplemental equipment (profilometers, microscopes, etc.) as well as over a thousand compounds. Advisor S. Asadauskas performs degradation studies since 1994 and currently participates actively in Horizon 2020 project TERMINUS developing polyurethane adhesives with researchers from Bayer, Tetrapak and other partners. A graduate student, who successfully learns research methods, will be offered additional employment in a H2020 project and internships abroad.
For more information, please contact the theme supervisor S. Asadauskas.