What is Vitrimer?

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What is Vitrimer? Blog Image


Researchers at the University of Tokyo have successfully created “sustainable plastic,” which is based on an epoxy resin vitrimer.

About Vitrimer

  • These represent a relatively recent category of plastics known for their impressive strength at low temperatures.
  • They also possess the unique ability to be reshaped numerous times when exposed to higher temperatures. 
  • It is also partially biodegradable.
  • Nonetheless, they do have a notable drawback - extreme brittleness, as they cannot be stretched far before breaking.
  • To address this issue, researchers introduced a molecule called polyrotaxane into the plastic synthesis process, resulting in a novel plastic variant they've dubbed VPR, an abbreviation for "vitrimer incorporated with polyrotaxane." 
  • VPR is over five times as resistant to breaking as a typical epoxy resin vitrimer.
  • At a high temperature of around 150 degrees Celsius, VPR start to recombine, allowing the material to take on different forms.
  • It also repairs itself 15 times as fast, can recover its original memorised shape twice as fast and can be chemically recycled 10 times as fast as the typical vitrimer.
  • It even biodegrades safely in a marine environment, which is new for this material.

Q1) What is polyrotaxane?

A polyrotaxane is a type of mechanically interlocked molecule or supramolecular structure. It consists of one or more linear polymer chains threaded through a ring-shaped molecule. This arrangement resembles a threaded nut on a bolt, where the linear polymer chain represents the bolt, and the ring-shaped molecule represents the nut.

Source: Japan: Scientists develop self-healing, stronger and partially biodegradable plastic