Design principles for intrinsically circular polymers with tunable properties

Changxia Shi, Liam T. Reilly, V. Sai Phani Kumar, Matthew W. Coile, Scott R. Nicholson, Linda J. Broadbelt*, Gregg T. Beckham*, Eugene Y.X. Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


This perspective discusses a set of design principles for next-generation kinetically trapped, intrinsically circular polymers (iCPs) that are inherently, selectively, and expediently depolymerizable to their monomer state once their kinetic barriers of deconstruction are overcome, thereby enabling not only the ideal shortest chemical circularity but also tunable performance properties. After describing four elements of the design principles—thermodynamics and kinetics, strategies to overcome trade-offs and unify conflicting properties, predictive modeling, and supply-chain life-cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis, which are illustrated with state-of-the-art examples—it concludes with presenting key challenges and opportunities for sustainable development of iCPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2896-2912
Number of pages17
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 11 2021


  • SDG11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG12: Responsible consumption and production
  • ceiling temperature
  • chemically recyclable polymers
  • intrinsically circular polymers
  • kinetically trapped polymers
  • life-cycle assessment
  • predictive modeling
  • techno-economic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Materials Chemistry


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