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Optimization of Industrial Polymeric Products to Improve Quality and Reduce Environmental Impact

By Nicola Stefanini


The present thesis is the result of three years’ collaboration between the University of Camerino and ELANTAS Europe Srl. The strong collaboration between university and companies allows to students like others and me to do research with an industrial approach, facing with the problematics of working life. The work was carried out among the laboratory of Organic Chemistry of Prof. Enrico Marcantoni at the University of Camerino (Camerino, Italy), the R&D laboratory of ELANTAS Europe in Ascoli Piceno (Italy) and the R&D laboratory of ELANTAS PDG INC in Saint Louis (Missouri, USA). The thesis concern the environmental impact of some industrial polymeric materials. Polymeric materials are very important in modern society: they have considerable advantages over products of other origins with lower costs with the same performance. Nevertheless, they allow some applications that some years ago would have been unthinkable (microencapsulation, shape memory materials, and many others). At the same time, environmental impact is a crucial topic strictly linked to polymeric materials (as all others materials), and to the period we are living. The production of such materials is constantly growing, exceeding the production of many others materials, and it is becoming increasingly important to find ways to produce them more efficiently and to recover waste products. The consequences of a production without limitation and control could be catastrophic for the whole world and humankind too. During my PhD, I worked on three industrial products in order to reduce their environmental impact, keeping their physical properties unchanged. After a first general introduction on polymeric materials, their uses, and their production, the second chapter concern about improving a recovery process for waste PMMA. The study allowed identifying undesirable by-products formed during the thermal depolymerization of PMMA and removing them in the consequent re-polymerization by an innovative dissolution/re-precipitation method. The third and fourth chapters deal with two coatings for wires electrical insulation, one based on polyurethanes (PU) and the other on polyesterimides (PEI). With the PU-based one, the target was to reduce the amount of loss material during the application stage and to increase the speed of application in order to reduce the energy consumption of the process. Whereas with the PEI-based enamel the purpose was to synthesized a solvent-free product using a twin-screw extruder and using recycled PET as alternative raw material to form the polyester part. The extruder technology is less energy consuming compare to the batches ones and allows working without solvents, since it can work with high viscosity materials. Moreover, the extruded product, with an additional system, can be potentially applied onto the wire with a higher thickness compare to the respective solventbased product, allowing a greater flow of current along the wire, thus improving the performance of the finished products (i.e. reducing the charging time of electrical motors)

Publisher: Università degli Studi di Camerino
Year: 2019
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