Plastics and Sustainability


Course Number: PLSM.6540

Tuition: $1,550

  • July 24-25
    Dr. Ramaswamy Nagarajan
  • Registration for this seminar has closed.

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This two-day seminar will cover the recycling of plastic waste and the development of bio-based plastics materials.

Day 1

  • Review the current relationship between plastic and the environment
  • Overview of plastic materials and plastic production processes
  • Accumulation of plastic waste in the natural environment and the toxicology of plastics and their additives
  • Waste management solutions for different types of plastics. Both traditional and emerging recycling methods will be highlighted, with particular emphasis on mechanical and chemical recycling processes. In addition, analysis methods and instrumentation to characterize recycled plastics — and the differences in virgin polymers and recycled polymers — will be introduced.

Day 2

  • Detailed overview of current definitions and standards for bio-derived, biodegradable plastics and elastomers
  • Design criteria for sustainable plastics based on a brief overview of life cycle analysis in the context of plastics
  • Introduction to sustainable material options available currently — plastics, elastomers and additives — that can be obtained from renewable resources. Detailed descriptions will be provided for naturally occurring polymers including natural rubber, cellulose and starch as well as polymers such as polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), and polybutylene succinate (PBS) that can be produced from naturally occurring precursors. The class material will also touch upon polymers from natural oils and additives from natural resources including natural fillers, fibers and clay nanocomposites. A brief discussion of processing these emerging bio-based materials will also be included.
  • A brief introduction to Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and general design criteria for sustainable plastics