The Polymer Center, a Qatar University-Qatar Science & Technology Park initiative with the partnership of University of Sheffield, the UK, is to start with three projects this year.
“The focus is on optimisation of recycled polymers from industrial and domestic sectors,” University of Sheffield’s senior lecturer from the Mechanical Engineering Department, Dr Alma Hodzic, told Gulf Times.
The plastic composites to be produced by the Polymer Center are to replace softwood and plywood widely used in the construction industry.
“A couple of international companies, which are already active in the recycling segment, have approached us,” the academic explained.
The improvement of thermal stability of recycled blends is a key objective of the project, given the high temperatures during summer in Qatar and the region.
“The recycled blends we are producing currently begin to soften at around 45°C, so we have to push it to 70°C to meet the requirements here,” Dr Hodzic observed.
Asked about the nature of collaboration between University of Sheffield and Qatar University, she said that researchers from both institutions would exchange visits and hold consultations.
“The partnership between the two universities will encompass training and scientific consultation as well,” Qatar University’s Materials Technology Unit head Dr Mariam al-Ali AlMa’adeed said.
Qatar Petrochemical Company, one of the largest producers of low density polyethylene (LDPE) in the Middle East, will be a supplier, she explained.
The company produces a wide range of LDPE grades suitable to all thermoplastics processing techniques with applications such as films, pipes, cables and wires and other moulded products.
“The municipality, which is to soon start sorting of plastic waste, will provide us with the same from households,” Dr AlMa’adeed said.
The Polymer Center is Qatar University’s second project with QSTP, after the Wireless Innovation Center.
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