We are developing new, sustainable catalysts, processes and building blocks for polymers such as polyesters (such as PET and polylactide), polyurethanes (PU) and polycarbonates (PC) which are used as commodity plastics and for high value biomedical applications.

In collaboration with industrial partners, we have developed and patented heavy-metal replacement catalysts for PET and PU that minimise the use of antimony and mercury in industrial processes. We have designed a series of very robust tin-free catalysts for the controlled synthesis of polylactide some of which are currently being tested for industrial applications and we are currently developing new catalysts and processes for incorporation of CO2 into a new generation of sustainable, renewable plastics.

This work has led to a £2.6 million EPSRC project on sustainable chemical feedstocks, patented catalyst technology and fundamental knowledge of Group 4 metal catalysis that is being exploited by UK companies.

 

“New ways of making, using and recycling plastics will have a major impact on global sustainability. By identifying and developing plastics from renewable sources we will not only reduce our dependence on petrochemicals but have the opportunity to build in desirable properties such as heat resistance and biodegradability.”
Professor Matthew Davidson

 

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