Currently, plastics (polymer materials) are primarily produced from fossil resources, but in order to realize a low‐carbon society, their production must shift to utilizing biomass. However, even if plastics are produced from biomass, we cannot achieve a low‐carbon society by incinerating them after use; therefore, plastics must also be recyclable. Graduate student Shunsuke Beppu (who has completed his Master's program), Associate Professor Yuya Tachibana, and Professor Ken‐ichi Kasuya of the Graduate School of Science and Technology, Gunma University, successfully developed a polycarbosilane with excellent optical properties and chemical recyclability using bifuran derived from biomass. It was synthesized from food waste such as corn kernels.
The benzene ring, which is often used as the backbone of fossil resource‐derived functional polymer materials, renders it difficult to chemically recycle organosilicon compounds. The research group synthesized a silicon compound with a bifuran‐based structure from furfural, which is produced from food waste such as corn kernels; subsequently, a polycarbosilane was developed via a polymerization reaction with a diene. The developed polycarbosilane had a bifuran‐based skeleton (a structure unique to biomass) and possessed properties such as ultraviolet (UV) absorption and fluorescence emission that cannot be achieved using benzene ring or other materials.
In addition, the proto‐desilylation reaction, which selectively cleaves the bond between bifuran and silicon, was applied to chemical recycling for the first time in history, and the raw materials were successfully recovered. The biomass material developed can be applied in various fields, such as in electronic materials and ceramic precursors, in addition to being used in the production of recyclable coating materials with UV absorption properties. The group plans to accelerate the social implementation of the designed biomass material in the future.
Publication: ACS Macro Letters
Title: Recyclable Polycarbosilane from a Biomass‐Derived Bifuran‐Based Monomer
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