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Research to develop sustainable plastics and rubbers

Research to develop sustainable plastics and rubbers

Image: Pixabay (Public Domain).

A new ARC Discovery Project led by Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient, Dr Justin Chalker, has received funding of $410,000 to establish design principles for the manufacture of polymers made from sulfur, an abundant yet underused building block. These novel materials have significant potential in the plastics and rubber industry, as well as the mining industry.

The research team, based at Flinders University, will test these materials with the aim of introducing new and sustainable plastics, rubbers, and glasses to the Australian and global markets. Some may become functional replacements for non-recyclable plastics and so eliminate the occurrence of toxic mercury and cyanide in gold mining and e-waste processing.

As well as generating new knowledge in how these materials can be assembled and recycled, the team will examine how they can be used to extract valuable gold from ore and e-waste. The researchers say that the fundamental science in this project will directly benefit the Australian economy with high-tech jobs and production of useful materials for domestic use and global export.



Image Credit: Pixabay (Public Domain).

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