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Lightweight and sturdy plastics are everywhere and are relevant to our lives. However, most plastic waste cannot be recycled and will eventually be landfilled or incinerated. According to United Nations statistics, approximately 300 million tons of plastic waste are generated each year worldwide. This kind of garbage, which takes centuries to break down, has even entered the deepest part of the ocean and entered the food chain, which is endangering the health of earth creatures, including humans. The good news is that researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have developed a new type of plastic that can be dismantled and recycled again and again at the molecular level like Lego toys, and then reconstituted into any color, shape or form. Products without loss of performance or quality. Using this new material called poly(diketone acetamide) or PDK, the invariant molecular bonds of traditional plastics are replaced by reversible molecular bonds that can be reduced to their monomeric molecules by breaking their molecular bonds, such as with concentrated acids. Separate the chemical additives before re-assembling as needed to give the plastic a new look and attributes. The researchers then plan to develop PDK plastics with heat resistance and higher mechanical properties for a variety of applications such as textiles, 3D printing and foam. In addition, they hope to expand their formulations by introducing plant materials and other sustainable sources.

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