Quantifying synergy for mixed end-scission and random-scission catalysts in polymer upcycling

Ziqiu Chen, Emmanuel Ejiogu, Baron Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The environmental consequences of plastic waste are driving research into many chemical and catalytic recycling strategies. The isomerizing ethenolysis strategy for polyethylene upcycling combines three catalysts to affect two different actions: non-processive scission at chain ends, and scission at random interior points. We show that population balance equations (PBEs) based on the local density approximation (LDA) accurately describe the end-scission chemistry. We further show that the model can be simplified to a first-order PBE when started from a realistic molecular weight distribution. The simplification enables formulation and solution of a model that includes both end-scission and random-scission modalities. The mixture of catalysts (in theory) can exhibit a quantitative synergy, e.g., with the total number of cuts for the catalyst mixture exceeding that for the sum of its separate component catalyst actions. We develop equations to predict and optimize the synergistic acceleration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalReaction Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 26 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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