The new polymer degrades when exposed to the UV rays of the sun and can solve the problem of marine pollution caused by abandoned fishing material
One of the major causes of sea pollution is fishing activity. Every day, thousands of square meters of fishing nets are abandoned in the open sea causing great damage to the fauna. There are many causes, from heavy swells that make it impossible to recover the material, to illegal boats, which dump their nets into the sea to avoid higher penalties.
A research team at Cornell University, led by Prof. Geoffrey Coates, is studying an innovative material that could solve the problem. The findings of the study have been published in the journal JACS. The research focused on a particular polymer, isotactic polypropylene oxide (iPPO). The material was found to be sensitive to UV rays from the sun, reducing the length of the fiber chains by a quarter after 30 days of exposure.
Research will therefore focus on the use of iPPO together with commonly used materials such as high density polyethylene and nylon-6,6. The researchers hope to produce a new degradable fibre that maintains the same mechanical properties as the current fibres. Achieving this goal could provide a great help and solve the problem of pollution caused by fishing nets.