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U of Victoria researcher adapts plastic used in construction vehicles to help build lightweight, energy efficient cars

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 8th, 2018

A chemist at the University of Victoria has developed a new plastic to help make lighter, more energy efficient cars.

Jeremy Wulff and his research team have reconstructed polydicyclopentadiene (PDCPD), a remarkably strong plastic used in heavy-duty vehicles such as excavators, backhoes and snowmobiles.

The material is generally unappealing for broader applications due to its foul smell, resistance to adhesives and non-recyclable nature, but Wulff’s team has tweaked the chemistry of the plastic to address these issues while retaining its high durability.

“PDCPD is extensively crosslinked, which is a fancy way of saying that whatever huge part you make from it is basically one big molecule,” says Wulff. “Pretty impressive when you think about it — imagine the entire body of your truck cab being made from one gigantic molecule.”

The research team recently amped up its production from milligram scale to hundred-gram scale and is seeking an industrial partner to reach the commercialization stage. The project has received funding from the Ideas to Innovation Program run by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, as well as from Green Centre Canada.

Source: UVic News

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