These Engineers Have Invented an Entirely New Approach to Recycling Plastic - ScienceAlert
Sep 27, 2021 50 secs

The approach takes guidance from the fact that proteins within organic polymers are constantly broken down into parts and reassembled into different proteins, without losing the quality of the building blocks.

They're long chains of molecules (or monomers) known as amino acids, and researchers think that the way these molecules can be broken up and reconfigured suggests a potential strategy for recycling synthetic polymers.

"Each pearl has a different color, and the color sequence determines the string structure and consequently its properties. In nature, protein chains break up into the constituent amino acids, and cells put such amino acids back together to form new proteins – that is, they create new strings of pearls with a different color sequence.".

"Polymers are strings of pearls, but synthetic polymers are made mostly of pearls all of the same color and when the color is different, the sequence of color rarely matters.".

"Furthermore, we have no efficient way to assemble synthetic polymers from different color pearls in a way that controls their sequence.".


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