From its initial inception in the 1940s, silicone has since become a go-to material for a range of purposes. Known for its versatility and durability, silicone’s heat-resistance, waterproof nature, and flexibility lend it to a wide range of utility. From cooking pots to cables, this synthetic rubber provides both electrical insulation and sealing – proving itself invaluable in multiple industrial sectors.
Silicone has a litany of applications, but its major hindrance is that it is troublesome to recycle. That is because it is composed of a polymer- a molecular entity crafted from myriad miniature components- and breaking it down to the base elements is quite the challenge.
Is there an avenue for the salvation of silicone from the ever-growing trash pile?
It appears that the answer is in the affirmative.
In 2016, a group of talented minds from Zhejiang University in China unveiled an innovative approach to repurposing silicone rubber as a unique material.
A primary component of their technique involves sodium borohydride, a type of chemical that aids in disassembling the polymer into much smaller fragments which are then capable of forming a new polymer.
This strategy is not only amicable to the environment, but it is also known for its proficiency.
All of the silicone rubber that was initially recycled was successfully repurposed, with the newly-crafted material having identical characteristics as the original.
This new advancement could be a game-changer when it comes to manufacturing silicone rubber products in an environmentally friendly way.
Despite the obstacles of manufacturing recycled silicone rubber in bulk, the future of this resource is full of promise.
To eradicate our dependency on silicone rubber, we must explore ways to substitute purchased products with recycled materials or those which can be reutilized and recycled.
Post time: 2023-06-20