Hydrolysis reaction of poly(ethylene terephthalate) using ionic liquids as solvent and catalyst



The hydrolysis of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) was studied using ionic liquid 1-n-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([Bmim][Cl]) as solvent and acid-functionalized ionic liquid 1-methyl-3-(3-sulfopropyl)-imidazolium hydrogen sulfate ([HSOmath imagepmim][HSO4]) as catalyst. The effects of temperature, time, and dosages of solvent and catalyst on hydrolysis results were examined. Under the optimum conditions of m(PET) : m(H2O) : m([Bmim][Cl]) : m([HSOmath imagepmim][HSO4]) = 3 : 4 : 6 : 0.6, reaction temperature 170°C and time 4.5 h, the conversion of PET and the yield of terephthalic acid (TPA) were almost 100% and ≥88%, respectively. After easily separated from the product, the ionic liquids could be reused eight times without obvious decrease in the conversion of PET and yield of TPA. Hence, an environmental friendly strategy for chemical recycling of PET was developed. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009