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In this work, zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were applied as solid catalysts for studying a glycolysis reaction of disposal PET plastic bottles. The effects of temperature, time and concentration of ethylene glycol and ZnO catalyst on % conversion and % yield of Bis(2-Hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (BHET) product were investigated. The chemical structures of the product were confirmed using melting point, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) analysis. The glycolysis product was applied with a different ratio of isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI) and polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG400) for the synthesis of polyurethane (PU). The results revealed the optimal condition for the glycolysis, which was conducted at 200 oC for 2 h with the ratio of PET: EG of 1:5 in the presence of 1% wt catalyst to obtain the BHET of about 60% yield. The addition of BHET into PU formulations was to increase their molecular weight, hardness and glass transition temperature (Tg) of prepared PU. This research reveals the possibility of using ZnO nanoparticles as the glycolysis catalysts, and the application of the glycolysis product as an alternative method for reducing plastic waste and preserving the environment.
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