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Master Thesis: Chemical recycling of vehicle interior design materials based on PET and their co-polymers

Scope: 30 hp

Location: RISE AB, Argongatan 30, Mölndal (south of Göteborg)

Are you interested in developing sustainable materials for the future, chemical recycling and a circular use of materials? Would you like to contribute to the development of processes that make more plastic recyclable? RISE is looking for a student with an interest in polymeric materials and their chemical recycling.

Project goal
The aim of the diploma work is to build knowledge on how to chemically recycle vehicle interior design materials. New, more recyclable, design concepts for these materials comprise ‘one polymer solutions’ based on PET and their copolymers. Initial results has shown that these PET based materials are suitable for chemical recycling via depolymerization. This diploma work will contribute with new basic research in the field of chemical recycling of PET copolymers and will be used for a future conference or scientific publication.

Background and purpose
Recycling of plastics and use of recycled plastic is necessary in order to achieve a sustainable production and use of resources. This is part of the shift towards a circular economy which includes circular use of materials. The topic is relevant for the vehicle industry and Volvo Cars recently announced a strategy with the target of 25% recycled plastic in all cars from 2025. Interior vehicle components contains a lot of plastics and could be suitable as a source for recycled plastics. These interior components will, after vehicle fragmentation be part of the light shredder fraction of end-of-life vehicles (ELV) that today is incinerated or goes to landfill. This diploma work is a part of the research project Sustainable Vehicle Interior Solutions (SVIS) that is performed with financial support from the program Strategic Vehicle Research and Innovation (FFI). RISE together with Volvo Cars and a large number of companies within the automotive business are investigating the possibilities to find circular material loops and enable more use of recycled plastics and other materials in cars.

About the project
The objective of this diploma work is to study the chemcial recyclability of PET and their co-polymers used in new, more recycable, interior designs for vehicles. To adapt existing car parts for future recycling schemes, “one polymer solutions” are advocated. For interior parts this can be done by utilising PET and PET bicomponent fibers and films (co-polymers of PET). The PET co-polymers add certain functionalities, such as adhesion or a lower processing temperature. Chemical recycling by depolymerisation of PET via glycolysis generate high value streams of PET monomers which can be repolymerized back to PET with virgin properties. However, less is known about the behaviour of PET co-polymers in chemical recycling with glycolysis. The aim for this master student work is therefore:

  • Investigate different PET co-polymers behaviour in glycolysis i.e. BICO and PET adhesive. Focus on yield optimization with reaction parameters such as catalyst and solvent.
  • Investigate behaviour of other polymers which is used in low amounts in interior part designs in glycolysis i.e. PE and rubber.
  • Adapt these findings on blends of PET and PET bicomponent fibers “one polymer solutions” interior parts.
  • This diploma work will contribute with new basic research in this field of chemical recycling of PET copolymers and will be used for a future conference or scientific publication.

Who are you?
For this degree project, the student should have a background in organic and polymer chemistry. Possible education programs include, but are not limited to, chemistry, chemical engineering, or other background with focus on material science.

Additional information

The project will be performed at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, in Mölndal, as part of a large research project involving Volvo Cars and a number of subcontractors.

Welcome with your application!
For more information, please contact:

Anna Peterson, Scientist, Polymers and Composites, +46 10 228 46 62; anna.peterson@ri.se

Cecilia Mattsson, Senior scientist, Polymers and Composites, +46 (0) 10 228 49 36; cecilia.mattsson@ri.se

Mårten Alkhagen, Project Manager, Fibre development, +46 (0) 10 228 47 98; marten.alkhagen@ri.se

Application deadline: 2022-10-31. The application should include your academic CV and a short description of yourself. Applications will be evaluated continuously, and the start date will be agreed with the successful applicant. Note that all applications for this position must go through our recruitment system Varbi. We do not accept applications by email.

Om jobbet




Visstidsanställning 3-6 månader

Job type

Student - examensarbete/praktik



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