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Untangling the Knot of Thermoset Recycling

Thermosets, the polymers that help memory foam mattresses keep their shape, have traditionally proven just as resilient to recycling efforts.  Traditional recycling methods cannot break down and reform the cross-link bonds that give thermosets their most useful qualities, leading most to be reused as much lower-value materials or discarded completely.  By altering the bonds themselves, John Torkelson has developed a straightforward solution to the issue.  As described in a recent Physics profile of the project, Torkelson’s method uses dynamic bonds that can be temporarily broken down at high temperatures before reforming.  This approach preserves the original properties of the material over multiple reuses without a loss of shape or material integrity.  Crucially, the process also requires only ”one or two elementary steps” to implement, ensuring that the implementation barrier for manufacturers is minimal.  Read the full article here.
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