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MSE Seminar: “A More Sustainable Future via Polymer Circularity”
October 27, 2022 at 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
In a Circular Economy, atoms and molecules are kept inside the economy where they continue to produce value, and they are kept out of unwanted places like our environment. At a high level, this concept applied to polymers and plastics should reduce the flow of material into the environment, while improving efficiency and reducing demand for natural resources, but the reality is much more complex. When considering the full supply chain, from design and manufacture, to use and retrieval, the system is full of challenges and potential for leakage. The only way to ensure progress, is to design changes to the system with these fundamental goals in mind, and to build the measurement and data frameworks that can support difficult decision-making and confidence in the results. The talk will present some NIST activities in fundamental materials design and measurement relevant to this larger need, including polyolefin molecular design for improved recovery, and models and processes to improve compatibilization of polymer blends relevant to mechanical recycling.
Kathryn L. Beers
Manager, Circular Economy Program, NIST
Kate Beers, PhD, leads the Circular Economy program for NIST, where she is engaged across the Institute in activities related to plastics recycling, new materials design, and environmental impacts of plastic waste. The program also includes elements of future data challenges, interfacing economics and other social sciences with materials research and manufacturing, and going beyond plastics challenges to critical minerals, other inorganic materials, and beyond. She has been recognized with the President’s Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), the Arthur S. Flemming Award for public service, the CMU Alumni Achievement Award and as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.