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ESR 11

ESR 11
Long-term mechanical recycling of blended polymers

  • TITLE: Long-term mechanical recycling of blended polymers

  • HOST: Ghent University (Belgium)

  • MAIN SUPERVISOR: Prof. dr. K. Ragaert (UG)

  • CO-SUPERVISOR: Prof. dr. T. Lucyshyn (MUL)

  • START DATE: 01.05.2020

  • DURATION: 36 months

  • REQUIRED DEGREE: MSc in Engineering (or equivalent) - specialization polymers or materials science
    MSc in Chemistry (or equivalent) - specialization polymers


    •  The candidate is at minimum knowledgeable in the following domains related to the science of thermoplastic polymers:structure-property-processing relationships;  deformation mechanisms; processing techniques (focus extrusion and film blowing); characterization techniques (both mechanical and physico-chemical)

    • Knowledge in the following domains is preferred, but not strictly required: specialization on polyolefines; mechanical recycling of polymers; processing and properties of blended thermoplastics

  • DESCRIPTION: In mechanical recycling of polyolefins, it is a common challenge that the main material (often PE) is contaminated with other polymers, originating from either mis sorting or multilayer products. The presence of these other polymers will interfere with the properties and processing of the recyclate. Often, additives like compatibilizers are added to regain adequate properties of the recyclate material. Within this PhD, we aim to gain full structural understanding of how these three components (main recycled polymer, contaminating polymer and additive) interact with one another throughout the recycling process.

  • OBJECTIVES: The objective is to gain a scientific understanding on how frequently used additives for mechanical recycling of mixed plastics (e.g. impact modifiers and compatibilizers) will behave in the newly generated ternary blend (including after multiple recycling cycles). Effects of structure-property relationships, degradation and processing techniques will be considered.

  • PLANNED SECONDMENTS: MUL for the evaluation of the applicability of inline-NIR spectroscopy in the compounder to detect additives and even quantify additive concentrations within the ternary blend (M25-M30); Netzsch for the evaluation of the transferability of lab-scale results to industrial-scale equipment (M32-M33)

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