Multiscale Simulation of Plastic Transformations: The Case of Base-Assisted Dehydrochlorination of Polyvinyl Chloride

15 May 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Plastic transformations are critical to ongoing recycling and upcycling efforts, but the complexity of the reactions makes it difficult to understand the effect of individual factors on reaction rates and product distributions experimentally. In this work, we report on a multiscale simulation framework for studying polymer transformations that incorporates affordable high-level coupled cluster calculations combined with benchmarked density functional theory calculations, detailed conformer search, and lattice-based kinetic Monte Carlo simulations to provide the temporal and spatial evolution of the polymer during transformations. Our framework can match experimentally observed reaction times within an order of magnitude without any parameter estimation in base-assisted dehydrochlorination of polyvinyl chloride. We determine that the E2 reaction mechanism dominates the reaction and demonstrate that different structural defects can inhibit or promote directional polyene growth as well as affect the structure of the dehydrochlorination product.


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