Catalytic Degradation of Polyethylene Terephthalate Using a Phase-Transitional Zirconium-Based Metal–Organic Framework

Yufang Wu, Xingjie Wang, Kent O. Kirlikovali, Xinyi Gong, Ahmet Atilgan, Kaikai Ma, Neil M. Schweitzer, Nathan C. Gianneschi, Zhong Li, Xuan Zhang, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is utilized as one of the most popular consumer plastics worldwide, but difficulties associated with recycling PET have generated a severe environmental crisis with most PET ending its lifecycle in landfills. We report that zirconium-based metal–organic framework (Zr-MOF) UiO-66 deconstructs waste PET into the building blocks terephthalic acid (TA) and mono-methyl terephthalate (MMT) within 24 hours at 260 °C (total yield of 98 % under 1 atm H2 and 81 % under 1 atm Ar). Extensive structural characterization studies reveal that during the degradation process, UiO-66 undergoes an intriguing transformation into MIL-140A, which is another Zr-MOF that shows good catalytic activity toward PET degradation under similar reaction conditions. These results illustrate the diversity of applications for Zr-MOFs and establish MOFs as a new class of polymer degradation catalysts with the potential to address long-standing challenges associated with plastic waste.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202117528
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Volume61
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 13 2022

Keywords

  • Metal–Organic Frameworks
  • PET Degradation
  • Phase Transitions
  • Plastic Recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

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