Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 209–216 | Cite as

Mechanism of Depolymerization Reaction of Polyethylene Terephthalate: Experimental and Theoretical Studies

  • Yusuke Asakuma
  • Yusuke Yamamura
  • Kyuya Nakagawa
  • Kouji Maeda
  • Keisuke Fukui
Orginal Paper


The depolymerization reaction of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was analyzed on the basis of both experimental data and numerical data obtained from quantum chemistry calculations. Various alcohols were used as solvents in the search for the reaction mechanism. The activation energy obtained from the optimized structures of the ground state and the transitional state was compared with our experimental data. Based on these comparisons, it was found that the formation of rings from alkoxyl groups and carbonyl carbon atoms at the transitional state is highly important when the ester bonds of PET are broken. Moreover, the most appropriate alcohol was suggested for the depolymerization reaction.


Polyethylene terephthalate Transesterification Electrostatic potential distribution 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yusuke Asakuma
    • 1
  • Yusuke Yamamura
    • 1
  • Kyuya Nakagawa
    • 1
  • Kouji Maeda
    • 1
  • Keisuke Fukui
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Systems EngineeringUniversity of HyogoShosha, Himeji, HyogoJapan

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