The present study describes the first example of utilization of a natural clay mineral as catalyst in a process addressed to chemical valorization of poly-[bisphenol A carbonate] (PC; (1)) wastes. A natural clinochlore was investigated for the first time as the catalyst of the hydrolysis reaction of 1, a potential route to chemical recycling of wastes of this polymeric material. At 473 K, in tetrahydrofuran (THF) as the solvent, the mineral promoted effectively the depolymerization (up to 99%, after 6 h) of 1 by H2O and the selective (~99%) regeneration of the monomer bisphenol A (BPA, (2)). Temperature, catalyst loading, reaction time, H2O/PC weight ratio affected markedly the productivity of the process. The role of the catalyst was also focused: the experimental data showed that the exposed brucite-like sheets of clinochlore are involved in the hydrolysis reaction and take active part in promoting the depolymerization process.
Keywords: Chlorite; Clinochlore; Hydrolysis; Plastics chemical recycling; Poly-[bisphenol A carbonate]; Waste valorization.
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