Apropos K

Making polyurethane degradable gives its components a second life

U. of I. chemistry professor Steven Zimmerman, graduate student Ephraim Morado and their colleagues are inventing new ways to degrade polyurethane and reuse the waste. Photo: L. Brian Stauffer

The degradable polyurethane material (pink strip) swells and then dissolves in acid mixed with an organic solvent (left vial in both photos) but not when placed in acid mixed with water (right vial in both photos). Image: Steven Zimmerman and Ephraim Morado