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Fribourg PICC talk19 nov 2019

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Helping to make the world a better place using plastics

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Fribourg PICC talk19 nov 2019

  1. 1. By Malcolm Mackley. Emeritus Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology University of Cambridge Polyethylene “single crystals” The 1960s “Plastic Free Kingsbridge” The 2016s Fribourg November 2019 Helping to make the world a better place using plastics
  2. 2. https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution Plastics pollution 1950-2015 Global Plastics Production Born in 1947 Polymer Physics PhD 1970 Realised extent of plastics global problem Polymers, Plastics and Innovation
  3. 3. Plastic Pollution Land. End of life Plastic objects. Plastic packaging and litter. Plastic Microparticles. Sea. Plastic litter. Plastic Microparticles. Air. Plastic incineration 𝐶𝑂2 Plastic Microparticles.
  4. 4. 1967 “The Graduate” film with Dustin Hoffman “Go into plastics” clip
  5. 5. 5 1970s Two great scientists (My Bristol Physics PhD Supervisors 1970s) Sir Charles Frank (1911-1998)Andrew Keller (1925 –1999) World leading Polymer Scientist World leading Physicist At this point of time, Plastic and CO2 pollution not appreciated
  6. 6. Polyethylene Unit cell Diamond If PE chain fully aligned in crystal. Expect PE Stiffness E=285 GPa Not usual E=1 GPa Frank 1970 C.W.Bunn 1945 Sir Charles Frank prediction; High Modulus Polyethylene An example of Unexpected Consequences creating a “Technology Monster” High Modulus Polyethylene. 1970. Step 1. Great Science (My PhD topic)
  7. 7. Oriented High Modulus 100 GPa Polyethylene 1980s Step 2. The Innovation Gel Drawing of Low Entanglement, Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMWPE) Piet Lemstra TU Eindhoven Low entanglement UHMWPE polymer gel. 1% polymer in solvent Unoriented Gel fibre Quench bath Unoriented Low entanglement semi crystalline fibre . Hot draw Solvent recovery Piston Ex Groningen Ex Bristol Paul Smith. ETH
  8. 8. 1990s. Step 3. The Commercial Technology Continuous Processing of DSM Dyneema fibre. Screw extruder UHMWPE Polymer powder Solvent Low entanglement polymer gel Spinneret Gel fibres Quench bath Low entanglement semi crystalline fibre Hot draw Solvent recovery High Modulus Polyethylene Han Meijer. DSM & Eindhoven
  9. 9. 1. Science. Then….. 2.Innovation. Then….. 3. Commercialisation. Then sometimes… 4. Global scale up. Then…. 5. Almost certainly, A problem? Dyneema ropesDyneema and Endumax Body armour Endumax Bomb protection 1990-2019. Step 4. Global Scale up. High Modulus PE Endumax sails
  10. 10. “I worked with Bp to help improve their polymer processing!” 25 kg bag of PE every 3 seconds. 250,000 Tonnes/annum 1990s. Ineos (ex Bp). Grangemouth Scotland Sir Jim Rarcliffe 60% Owner of Ineos At this point in time Plastic and CO2 pollution still not appreciated
  11. 11. Polyethylene (PE) Global manufacture. 1934-2019 Globally, 2019 > 100 million tonnes/annum = Fill Salcombe Estuary / annum with PE
  12. 12. Temperature 50 100 150 200 C0 DH Melt Processing The “good” and “bad” properties of PE • Low melting point. • Low density. • High strength and toughness. • “Low cost?”. • Ease of processing. Polyethylene £ 1000/tonne (Paper £ 300 /tonne) Plastic floats! Good for low temp processing. Bad for flammability.
  13. 13. Ease of melt Processing ; A significant reason why plastic is used so much. 1 10 100 1000 10000 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000 1000000 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 Log Apparent Viscosity Pas Entanglement of chains Shear Thinning Simulation. Experiment. Birefringence stress fields Stress field birefringence Cambridge Multipass Rheometer (MPR) (David Hassell) Strain rate
  14. 14. Thirty years of research results for example in the ability to mathematically model and optimise plastic bottle blow moulding. Whilst at the same time…Thirty years is enough time to create a global plastic bottle nightmare. Plastic Bottles ! UK; 35 million plastic bottles /day
  15. 15. https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/10/21/uk-household-plastics-found-in-illegal-dumps-in-malaysia/ 2018. UK plastic dumped in Malaysia.
  16. 16. Film blowing and blow moulding. technologies that can produce “Problematic Plastic Products” Plastic packaging and bottles are a Global problem ( particularly in underdeveloped countries)
  17. 17. 17 Recovery and Reuse of used plastics (and other materials) is an interlinked problem and is at the heart of acceptable use. 2019. “A conclusion”
  18. 18. Coloured plastic bags to save the world from plastic pollution! Collect in coloured plastic bags 2016. A multi material and plastic recovery solution. Eskilstuna – Sweden A clean and colourful solution to domestic waste collection Optical separation of bags to different reuse streams
  19. 19. 19 Chemical Recycling; The pyrolysis option. Recycling Technologies (Reading UK) Surely the future Is to have, Chemical Recycling providing “fresh feedstock” alongside all major Polymerisation reactors?
  20. 20. 2
  21. 21. Plastics are not alone ! Other technologies with global problems. • Minerals. Mining toxic tailings (waste pits) • Mobile phones. 1 Billion/annum. Materials recycle, Society and social aspects. • CO2 Global warming • Transportation. • Mathematics! • The internet of things. • Drones. • ………………. Burst tailings dam. Brazil Jan 2019
  22. 22. 22 2019 Plastic Pollution can be controlled. However globally; Plastic Use, Recovery and Recycle Technology needs to be significantly improved and Incineration of plastics reduced.

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