MSE Virtual Seminar: “Circularity in Plastics: From Biodegradable Elastomers to Mechanical Recycling”


11:00 am-12:00 pm
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Guilhem De Hoe, Ph.D.

Research Fellow, Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub
University of Manchester

Dr. Guilhem De Hoe was born in Paris, France, and obtained a B.S. in Chemistry from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He went on to get a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota under the supervision of Prof. Marc Hillmyer, during which time he focused on dynamic networks, polyesters, and biodegradation. After a brief post-doctoral appointment at Argonne National Laboratory working on anti-biofouling polymers, Guilhem decided—in the middle of a global pandemic—to move across the Atlantic and take on a research fellow position in the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub at the University of Manchester. His current focus is on translational research for plastics recycling as well as working through systems-level material sustainability challenges with SMEs in Greater Manchester.


Plastic pollution and low levels of recycling are driving increased awareness about the unsustainable use of plastics in our modern society. Shifting our current linear system to a more circular one requires optimizing materials and systems for specific end-of-life fates.

In this talk, I will contextualize the “plastics problem” and describe several directions of research that contribute toward resolving it. We will focus in large part on the synthesis and characterization of high-performance elastomers from potentially bio-based (macro)molecules, with specific emphasis on probing the biodegradation of these elastomers in composts and natural environments. From these projects, we will transition into my current work on systems-level challenges in plastics and the mechanical recycling of commodity plastics, with a focus on novel functional additives that can help retain the desirable properties of plastic through several cycles of reprocessing