Polymer Chemistry

Advanced chemical recycling of poly(ethylene terephthalate) through organocatalytic aminolysis

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We report the effective organocatalysis of the aminolytic depolymerization of waste poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) using 1,5,7-triazabicyclo[4.4.0]dec- 5-ene (TBD) producing a broad range of crystalline terephthalamides. This diverse set of monomers possesses great potential as building blocks for high performance materials with desirable thermal and mechanical properties deriving from the terephthalic moiety and amide hydrogen bonding. Further, a computational study established mechanistic insight into self-catalyzed and organocatalyzed aminolysis of terephthalic esters, suggesting that the bifunctionality of TBD particularly concerning activation of the carbonyl group differentiates TBD from other organic bases. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.