The global plastics market reaches a volume of about 350–400 million tonnes annually. Only a small percentage of this volume is processed. All available methods (hydrolysis, glycolysis, methanolysis and pyrolysis) are energy-consuming. Sergey Zaitsev, a student of the Faculty of Computer Sciences, Voronezh State University, under the supervision of professor of the Department of Digital Technologies has developed an alternative to the traditional chemical processes. The researchers have developed a computer program which simulates the structure of various plastic molecules and breaks them down into more basic molecular entities which do not interfere with the environment, by applying radiation. This discovery can make the production and processing of plastics less energy-consuming and more environmentally friendly.
The researchers have already jointly published several articles. The paper will be published in the Journal of Physics: conference series, covered in the Scopus database.
“We have developed a program in the C++ programming language, which allows us to simulate the structure of various plastic molecules. In the future it can be used to develop a software system to do simulation modelling of reactions and to define the parameters required for the plastics to degrade when exposed to ionizing radiation. This method will allow us not only to safely recycle and process existing plastic products, but also to synthesize those with the predefined faculties. The radiation may cause the generation of new interatomic bonds which can enhance the material resistance,” says Sergey Zaitsev.