Upcycling Plastic Waste Into High-Performing Mechanical Lubricants


New research could mean fewer adverse impacts from plastic waste and cheaper lubricants used in vehicles and industrial activities.

Finding new solutions to address the challenges posed by plastic waste can dramatically improve global sustainability practices and help achieve a greener future. While many researchers are working to solve this problem on an international scale, a new, multi-institutional team is seeking to turn that waste into a high-performing contributor.

The research team is working on upcycling plastic waste into liquid lubricants, including oil, hydraulic fluids, heat transfer fluids and greases.

Led by Iowa State University, the project team includes Argonne National Laboratory, Chevron Philips Chemical Company, Chemstations Inc., American Packaging Corp., the City of Ames Resource Recovery Facility and Hy-Vee, alongside Texas A&M University. Ali Erdemir, Halliburton Chair in Engineering Professor and professor in the J. Mike Walker’ 66 Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, leads the efforts for Texas A&M.

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