Catalytic and thermal pyrolysis of polycarbonate in a fixed-bed reactor: The effect of catalysts on products yields and composition

E. V. Antonakou, K. G. Kalogiannis, S. D. Stefanidis, S. A. Karakoulia, K. S. Triantafyllidis, A. A. Lappas, D. S. Achilias*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A meaningful and advanced method concerning the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) becomes a necessity, mainly due to their increased production, applications and their short life. Thermal methods have been an attractive option and for this reason the investigation of pyrolysis and catalytic pyrolysis as a potential method for the recycling of polycarbonate (PC) based plastics has been the aim of the current study. Nine different catalysts with variations in properties (such as porosity and acidity/basicity) were introduced in a bench scale pyrolysis system together with the polycarbonate polymeric material and the pyrolysis fractions were collected and analyzed. The liquid product consisted mainly of phenols and substituted phenols as well as the original monomer and, due to the commercial value of these products in the chemical industry, it is expected to enhance the economic viability of the process. Results showed a reduction in the degradation temperature in the presence of all catalytic materials, depending on the pore characteristics and the acidic nature of the solid. It seems that in the presence of the basic catalysts, PC degradation leads to lower molecular weight compounds and high phenolic fractions in the liquid produced. In terms of reduction in the production of the monomer, pore size rather than acidity appears to be the determining factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-491
Number of pages10
JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
Early online date29 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Catalysts
  • Phenols
  • Polycarbonate
  • Pyrolysis
  • Zeolites


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