British chemists have turned the air and sugar in the usual plastic

© Fotolia / jbd30Пластиковый a drink on the beachBritish chemists have turned the air and sugar in the usual plastic© Fotolia / jbd30

British scientists have developed a method of turning plain sugar and carbon dioxide from the air in the polycarbonates and other types of plastics that will allow in the future to abandon the hydrocarbons during their production, according to a paper published in the journal Polymer Chemistry.

«The world population is constantly growing and with it grows the demand for plastic. Our «renewable» plastic is a good alternative for polymers synthesized from iskopaemykh hydrocarbons. They are cheap and if it is well decomposed by microbes, so they will not pollute the oceans and the dry land, as do their petroleum «cousins,» explains Antoine Bouchard (Antoine Buchard) from the University of Bath (UK).

Today on the landfill Land every year gets about 300 million tons of plastic waste, most of which are not decomposed by soil microbes and remains almost intact over tens and even hundreds of years. Many of the plastic particles fall into the water of the oceans, where they penetrate into the stomachs of fish and birds and often become the cause of their death.

Bouchard and his colleagues at the University propose to deal with this problem using their own methods for the synthesis of plastics and polymers that are used today for making glassware, CDs, lenses and equipment, and other household items.

Their method of synthesis allows to «glue» molecules of simple sugars and carbon dioxide and turn them into single units of future polymer molecules at room temperature, not using phosgene and other toxic catalysts that are currently used in industry in the production of such substances. These molecules, as shown by further experiments, can, in themselves, stick together in long chains without catalysts or heating the solution.

These polymers, so-called polycarbonates, well decomposed by bacteria and their carbon versions are already used today in medical and food industries for various purposes. The use of simple sugars and CO2 from the air, in turn, make them more accessible and will allow the use of such plastics in the home and at work on a larger scale.

«The properties of these plastics can be flexibly changed by modifying the structure of their molecules. For example, we can force cells to adhere to it, making the molecule positively charged. This will allow you to apply the structure of such a substance for growing artificial tissues and organs than we already do», concludes Gregory, Georgina (Georgina Gregory), a colleague Bouchard at the University.