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Upcycling Waste PTFE to Metal Halides

A fluoro-oxygen metathesis reaction that can upcycle the fluorine from waste PTFE into useful metal fluorides


Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is the most chemical resistant plastics with a wide variety of applications. However, there is a huge amount of waste created by the plastics industry. Fluoropolymers (e.g. PTFE) cannot be easily incinerated or dumped since traditional incineration releases highly corrosive vapours. Today, PTFE is recycled by pulverizing into a micro-powder and then used in the manufacture of virgin PTFE.

A research project led by UCL’s Department of Chemical Engineering has developed a sustainable, efficient, and non-hazardous method to upcycle PTFE into valuable metal halides, including but not limited to Sodium Fluoride (NaF), Calcium Fluoride (CaF2), and Sodium Hexafluoroaluminate / Cryolite (Na3AlF6):

  • Sodium Fluoride is used in fluorination of water, toothpaste, and metallurgy ($800M global market size,

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