The research group “Procesado y Pirólisis de Polímeros” of the Chemical Engineering department in the University of Alicante has developed a novel process to recycle different types of plastic (EVA, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyurethane, foams, rubber or any kind of combination of them). The method can convert these materials into products for different sectors and applications, in an easy and economical way.
The researchers are seeking companies interested in licensing this technology and put it in the market.
The manufacture of items from microcellular materials like copolymer foams of ethylene and vinyl acetate (EVA), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyurethane (PU), rubber, etc. is a difficult task due to the shape and size of these materials.
The processes normally used for this kind of materials are extrusion, press of solid materials, rotational moulding and injection. In any case it is necessary to plan a sequence of reticulation and foaming processes. In that sequence the heat transmission is the main mechanism and it controls the chemical reaction. All of these processes used to have a high percentage of waste and rejected pieces due to the high complexity of the processes. This situation is making a loss in this industry.
The aforementioned materials are thermostables and they can’t be conformed by heat. It is necessary to recycle these products but it has some disadvantages:
All of these reasons make necessary to develop a new system to recycle these complex materials and take advantage of their characteristics and properties. In this way, the new process proposed by the Spanish research group contributes to this objective. It consists of the addition of conductive materials to the plastics and the use of microwaves. It supposes a cheap and fast solution to the recycling problem of these thermostables materials.
It has been developed a new procedure to obtain polymeric foams for different applications using plastic wastes like EVA, PE, PP, PU, rubber or any kind of combination of them. This procedure is very easy, cheap and fast. It comprises several steps:
This innovative process has been designed to use plastic wastes generated in different industries. EVA, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyurethane, foams, rubber or any combination of them can be used. Using the innovative method can be obtained pieces with different thickness depending on the application that this piece will have. For example:
• Road signs protectors.
• Net floats.
• Signalling buoys.
• Life preserver floats.
• Wheels for different vehicles.
• Soles for shoes.
• Ground sheets.
• Acoustic barrier sheets.
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