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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Plastic waste accumulation has been growing due to the increase in plastic generation and the lack of infrastructure for recycling. One of the approaches is to treat the mixed plastic waste (MPW) through thermal processes to produce feedstocks for other applications. However, the presence of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in MPW would produce HCl during processing and has negative impacts (emission, catalyst poisoning, etc.). In addition, due to the high heterogeneity of MPW, it is difficult to generate consistent experimental data. In this study, MPW was homogenized through double compounding–extrusion and then formed into a sheet to be treated at 400 °C. The solid products at various mass losses were characterized by heat and chlorine content, Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and elemental composition analysis. It was found that the thermal degradation of MPW started at ~260 °C. The chlorine removal efficiency increased with mass loss and reached an asymptotic value of ~84% at ~28% mass loss, and the remaining chlorine can be attributed to inorganic sources. A PVC de-chlorination model was developed for MPW using TGA data for PVC and MPW to determine organic chlorine removal efficiency. These results show that PVC de-chlorination was not affected by other plastics at this temperature. As the mass loss increases, the heat content first increases and then decreases. It was found that mass loss is a universal parameter for organic chlorine removal efficiency and heat content. The elemental composition analysis and FTIR spectroscopy also shed more light into the chemical changes during MPW thermal degradation.

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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/). Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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