The Johns Hopkins Engineering community is creating a better future, translating theoretical knowledge into real-world solutions.
Join us on Tuesday, May 4 for a virtual celebration showcasing student innovation and creativity at Hopkins Engineering annual Design Day!
Design Day Projects
Recycling of Polystyrene Cups via D-Limonene for Use in Fabric
Team: The New Norm
Program: Materials Science and Engineering
Our team has demonstrated a non-degradative method for cleanly and repeatedly recycling polystyrene (PS) drinking cups by dissolving them in d-limonene (D-L), an organic solvent derived from citrus rinds. This solvent is highly selective and only strongly dissolves PS among the common recycling polymers. It also removes common contaminants, as drink residues are water-based and non-soluble. The cleaned and separated PS can then be recovered from the D-L either via steam distillation, resulting in bulk PS, or via wet-spinning into a linear alkane, resulting in PS filament. This PS can then be reused, either for general PS uses such as drinking cups or styrofoam, or blended with other common polymers to produce a clothing-ready fabric.
Dr. Orla Wilson
A brief voiceover of our project poster.