To combat the pressing environmental challenges associated with the consumption of polymeric materials by the growing world population, material scientists have identified three key strategies: Reducing chemical-related impact of polymer preparation through green chemistry approaches. Resilience, to prolong the polymer material’s functional lifetime and facilitate repurposing, thereby reducing the need for raw materials while degradability allows for adapting the material’s lifetime to its functional lifecycle and eliminate the side-effects of discarded materials. The symposium contributions should focus on the three aforementioned strategies and related aspects for enhancing the sustainability of polymer materials. The first part of the symposium will present innovative synthetic pathways that utilize bio-based and non-toxic starting materials, reduce energy consumption, and produce fewer by-products. It will also include biotechnologically produced polymers and address the corresponding challenges of scaling-up required to make a meaningful impact. The second part of the symposium will focus on pathways to prolong the lifetime of polymers, and discuss for instance self-healing materials, non-toxic stabilizing additives and other strategies to avoid or deal with material damages. The third part of the symposium will focus on polymer materials that can degrade via hydrolysis or specific external stimuli. Here, approaches for lifetime prediction and analysis of environmental impact, both experimental and theoretical, are of high relevance. Also, challenges associated with processing of degradable and recycled materials into functional devices will be discussed.
Institute of Active Polymers
Anna Finne Wistrand
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
University of Nevada, Reno