Tomsk State University: A new technology for transforming plastic is being patented at TSU

Yana Dubkova, a TSU young scientist, is finishing her project “Development of a Technology for Processing Plastic into High-Tech Titanium Carbide Powders” and is preparing to patent this technology. Thanks to the synthesis method proposed, powder compounds of carbon and metal are obtained from plastic that have a wide range of applications – from heat pipes to nuclear power.

– From the granules obtained after such processing, only those plastic products from which they were obtained can be produced. Consequently, there is a need for fundamentally new technologies that allow processing plastic waste without separation and without the need for cleaning from contamination, and then adapting this technology to the requirements of modern industry, – explained Yana Dubkova, a staff member of the TSU Laboratory of Nanotechnology of Metallurgy.

The scientific project implemented by Yana Dubkova is to process a mixture of various types of plastic without separating it by color or cleaning it from impurities. The main task, in this case, is not just processing, but the use of this process to obtain high-tech compounds that are widely used in various industries, including powder metallurgy.

– Powder metallurgy is engaged in the production of metal powders and metal products. Metal carbides, a special class of compounds, are also widely used in it. They are refractory, have high hardness and heat resistance, and are also resistant to chemical environments. In industry, these compounds are obtained in industrial furnaces by the reaction of metals with carbon. My technology provides for the production of metal carbides by synthesis from plastic materials of various grades, – said Yana Dubkova.

Extensive experimental work on the project was carried out in the TSU Laboratory of Nanotechnology of Metallurgy. The project team learned how to obtain titanium carbide powders using new technology, without using complex and resource-intensive technological stages. In this case, the plastic serves as a multifunctional polymer matrix that simplifies the process of titanium carbide production and allows achieving high quality of the resulting powder. It can be further used to create porous filters, structural materials, heat pipes, and fuel elements for nuclear power. Now Yana Dubkova is preparing this technology for patenting; it is planned to finish the application in April.

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