Tandem Catalysts for Polyethylene Upcycling: A Simple Kinetic Model

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Of all plastics, the most abundantly produced is polyethylene, most of which is destined for landfills, shipping ports, and natural environments. The limited degradability and recyclability of this synthetic polymer motivates the development of chemical recycling methods. One possible approach consists of selective depolymerization to propylene with tandem olefin metathesis and double bond isomerization catalysts. In this paper, we transform thousands of coupled rate equations, pseudo-steady-state approximations, and local density approximations into one simple and analytically solvable Fokker-Planck type equation. The Fokker-Planck equation gives concise expressions for the rate of propylene production and polymer molecular weight evolution as functions of catalyst concentrations, rate constants, and ethylene concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3935-3942
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 14 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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