|M.Sc Student||Resnick Ayal|
|Subject||Recycling Cross-Linked Polyethylene|
|Department||Department of Chemistry||Supervisor||Professor Moris Eisen|
|Full Thesis text|
Plastics are important for our everyday life, and 300 million tons are manufactured annually.1 The most popular of these is polyethylene, a popular use for which requires it’s cross-linking. After the cross-linking the polymer becomes an inert, insoluble, rigid material which degrades before arriving at its glass transition state. In its final form, it cannot be welded, soldered, or glued, precluding the recycling of waste or excess polymer. This presents a growing problem as 4 million tons of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) was used in the U.S. alone in 2011, and this number is expected to rise to 4.5 million tons by 2016.2 Our goal in this study is to activate the surface of the inert polymer, leaving us with desirable structural properties while adding different surface properties, such as antibacterial coating, an ion exchange system, or scaffolding for protein synthesis.
During the course of this study, three different materials were successfully grafted on PEX surface via the use of "multipurpose" linker molecules. One is a polymer displaying antibacterial properties, another is poly(4-chlorostyrene), and lastly an enzyme which represent the ability to bind proteins as a whole. The multipurpose linkers allow for a vast array of functionalization of the polymer surface that goes beyond what was achieved in this work, and can increase the usefulness of polymer.