The BOTTLETM consortium houses world-class analytics and characterization facilities for polymer upcycling, which are organized in the Characterization Task. Our areas of expertise include state-of-the-art chemical catalyst, biocatalyst, and polymer characterization tools. We also have advanced art mass spectrometry and spectroscopy facilities for small-molecule, catalyst, and polymer characterizations, and systems biology applications related to environmental plastics degradation. In addition, we have multiple ASTM International biodegradation assays in-house to test polymer end-of-life in multiple contexts, including in aquatic, composting, marine, and soil environments. Lastly, we can conduct synchrotron-based characterization at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, including operando measurements to elucidate catalyst-polymer interactions at reaction conditions.
We have also built a standard substrate library coupled to rigorous polymer characterization of both model and real substrates, to be able to compare deconstruction and upcycling technologies in a self-consistent manner.
Our primary focus areas include the following; please contact us for more information about other activities in this task.
Catalyst and Biocatalyst Mechanisms
BOTTLE facilities include world-class catalyst and biocatalyst characterization capabilities, specifically focused on elucidation of catalyst action on polymeric systems. This includes mechanistic interrogation of catalysts and biocatalysts using crystallography, spectroscopy, and operando methods at reaction conditions. We also routinely conduct characterization of enzymes and chemical catalysts acting at solid polymer interfaces as well.
Comprehensive Polymer Characterization
We have a comprehensive suite of polymer characterization tools that enable the complete characterization of polymer thermomechanical properties (thermal, rheological, and mechanical properties), morphology and structure (scattering, spectroscopy, spectrometry, and molecular weight distribution), and barrier properties. This tool suite is commonly applied to both today’s polymers before, during, and after deconstruction, as well as to newly designed, recyclable-by-design polymers.
We have standardized ASTM/International Organization for Standardization tests set up to determine the environmental impacts of redesigned polymers in natural (soil and fresh water) and engineered environments (landfill, composting, and anaerobic digesters).