When you want to drink water you will see plastic cups; when you eat you will see plastic bowls; when you wear clothes you will see plastic buckles; it can be said that plastics are everywhere in our human activities. The problem of environmental pollution caused by plastics is more serious. According to the investigation of researchers, plastic pollution can even penetrate the polar ice far in the Arctic and Arctic regions, and even researchers have been in the Mariana Trench at a depth of 11,000 meters. A plastic bag was found inside. Moreover, in our daily life, plastic particles will enter our bodies, and every week we will eat the same amount of plastic particles as the weight of the credit card, which will have a weight of about five grams.
In order to alleviate the environmental crisis and reduce the pollution of plastics to the environment, researchers are working hard to develop degradable stuff that can replace plastics, thereby reducing environmental pollution problems and not affecting people’s normal life needs. It is difficult for us to imagine a world without plastic products. At the same time, we are also threatened by the problems posed by plastic pollution. The team led by Professor Juan Carlos Colmenares at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences is studying a completely biodegradable material to replace plastic, and it has been successfully extracted from food production waste Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF).
Comments responded: We hope to find a material that can degrade in just a few months or years to replace PET. Today ‘s petroleum-made plastics contain phthalic and other plasticizer an organic or even inorganic compound of sugar, which themselves has no bacteria or fungus to break them down. The materials produced based on DFF contain furanose, and substances from nature more susceptible to the influence of nature. The team led by the professor has tested these polymers and they break down into sugar-like monomers.
Sugar is delicious food for many microorganisms. Even if a whole bottle of plastic made of this material is thrown into the forest, it will decompose much faster. And the traditional polymer the earliest will be a few years later. But not because the material of this product is new, but because of the method of producing this product. In the past, the bio-plastic production required at least a high temperature of 100-150 degrees Celsius and very complicated technology, but the bio-plastic produced ecologically better than plastics made from crude oil, but the price is relatively high.
Now, the nanorods they produce from manganese dioxide which act as a catalyst can accelerate the partial oxidation in the production process. This plastic can be produced at a lower temperature and atmospheric pressure, Colmenares The professor explained: This is because the structure of the nanorods is very long and still very thin, this structure can better absorb light and heat. Because the uniqueness of manganese dioxide is that the thermal photocatalytic performance is relatively strong, manganese dioxide makes it more active. And as long as the LED lamp in the ultraviolet range and the air containing oxygen at room temperature can convert HMF to DFF. In the end, basically, all HMF is converted into 100% DFF. This is a waste-free process and does not require oxygen and additives similar to hydrogen peroxide. The professor is very happy: the nanocatalyst can also be used multiple times because DFF does not destroy it.
Some people worry that the plastic of this material may decompose too quickly, which will be very inconvenient when used, but Professor Carl Menas said: This material still needs a long time to degrade, but compared to traditional materials the time is relatively short, although people may drink a little “harmless” plastic because of its decomposition, it will also be decomposed by bacteria and enzymes in our stomach, so it is absolutely safe for our body.