Macromolecular Rapid Communications, vol.44, no.9, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) is a well-known and widely used commodity plastic. High production amount of PMMA causes excessive waste creation that highlights the necessity of recycling. Conventional recycling methods require elevated temperatures to induce degradation or depolymerization. In this work, visible light induced photodegradation system by using dimanganese decacarbonyl (Mn2(CO)10) with high halogen affinity is reported. Halide functional photodegradable polymers are prepared by copolymerization of methyl methacrylate and methyl α-chloroacrylate by conventional reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer polymerization. Synthesized copolymers are efficiently degraded to low molecular weight oligomers under visible light irradiation in the presence of Mn2(CO)10. Characteristics of precursors, degraded polymers, and kinetics of depolymerization are investigated by gel permeation chromatography (GPC), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourrier transform infrared (FTIR), and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopies. The reported approach is expected to trigger further development of more environmentally friendly recycling techniques in the near future as we are moving toward a greener and more sustainable world.