RLA2020014: Tecnología de radiación en polímeros naturales y sintéticos para el desarrollo de nuevos productos, con énfasis en la recuperación de residuos
To contribute to the reduction of the environmental impact of natural and synthetic polymer wastes using irradiation techniques.
The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region is extraordinarily rich in natural resources. However, economic production and subsequent industrialization generate residues composed of high-value natural polymers. On the other hand, synthetic polymers are mainly discarded as waste after use, taking a long time to degrade and generating microplastics that end in the marine environment. Therefore, to have alternative treatments to reduce their environmental impact is the main goal. An interesting alternative is to transform these problems into opportunities, recycling and/or converting these wastes and residues into novel value-added products. The role of radiation technologies is that gamma ray, X-ray, and electron beam can be used to recycle polymers wastes by radiation-induced grafting, accelerating the degradation, modifying some chemical, mechanical, or surface properties, to obtain raw materials or additives for biopolymers, hydrogels, nanoparticles, construction materials, furniture, filters, recovery of thermoplastics, fabrics, packaging, absorbent materials, among others. The overall objective of this project is to contribute to reduce the environmental accumulation of natural and synthetic polymer wastes, while the specific objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of radiation technology for the modification of different polymer wastes. This will be done by identifying the problems, opportunities, and capacities of the LAC region, training on methods for obtaining and characterizing advanced value-added materials from natural and synthetic polymers wastes modified by radiation, training in technology scaling from the laboratory up to industrial scale, carrying out a technical-economic feasibility study of implementation, and improving strategic communication capabilities. The regional strategies are those of integration, cooperation, harmonizing efforts to mitigate the effects on the environment that economic growth entails and to achieve a productive and technological base for sustainable development. With this, it is expected to encourage research and development for added-value products form polymers wastes and increase the demand for irradiation services in the region.