Polyethylene Materials Bearing In-chain Mechanophores

20 December 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Polyethylenes are recognized as fundamental plastic materials that are manufactured in the largest quantities among all synthetic polymers. The chemical inert nature of the saturated hydrocarbon chains is important for the storage and usage of polyolefin plastics, whereas has given rise to significant environmental challenges regarding plastic pollution. Here we report the synthesis of polyethylene materials bearing in-chain mechanophores via catalytic copolymerization of ethylene with cyclobutene-fused polar comonomers. Cyclobutane-fused mechanophores serve as mechanical gates to regulate the degradability of the polyethylene materials. Upon ultrasonication treatment, saturated hydrocarbon chains will transform to degradable backbones bearing acyclic imide units. Subsequent hydrolysis enables polymer chemical recycling to bifunctional small molecules. Such polyethylene materials possess an ideal combination of stability and accessible degradability.


Mechanical force

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information
Supplementary Information for Polyethylene Materials Bearing In-chain Mechanophores


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