To answer such questions, project collaborator Jay Turner, an engineering professor at Washington University in St. Louis, will work with Robertson to develop the full life cycle assessments of the polymers Robertson creates.
Their findings should help polymer researchers identify not only the polymers with the best mechanical properties, but those that make the most sense in terms of sustainability and environmental impact. This will help shape a science and an industry whose day is undoubtedly coming.
"Polymers and plastics are all around us," Robertson said. "The problem we're facing is related to efforts to find alternative energy sources, but we can't use options like solar or wind to solve this issue. Alternative materials' sources will require a new way of thinking about the problem, and we need to start working on this now."
|Contact: Jeannie Kever|
University of Houston