Filip Du Prez - CiMaC

Description of the PI

Filip Du Prez.jpgFilip Du Prez is full professor and vice-chair at the Faculty of Sciences of Ghent University in the Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry, within the Centre of Advanced Macromolecular Chemistry (CMaC). He is scientifically heading the Polymer Chemistry Research (PCR, around 25 researchers) since 1999, focusing on three main topics: 1) ‘From polymer functionalization to absolute control’; 2) ‘Dynamic and self-healing polymeric materials’; 3) ‘Giving renewable polymers functionality’.

A couple of actual topics are recyclable thermoset materials, sequence defined polymers, vitrimers and self-healing polymers, novel click chemistries in macromolecular science, coatings and functional polymers from renewable resources.

This research resulted in around 320 A1 publications (h-index 55), more than 10 book chapters, 14 patent applications and more than 25 awards for his coworkers in the last 5 years.

Since 2018, he is associate editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Polymer Chemistry. Also, since 2017, he is the Belgian representative in the board of the European Polymer Federation (EPF).

Description of the projectcimac.png

Thermoset recycling is one of the holy grails of the plastic industry, which is currently facing increasingly stringent international regulations to stimulate finding solutions towards the sustainable use of plastics.

While displaying superior properties compared to thermoplastic polymers, thermosets – which have an annual global production of 40 million tons and are for example used in windmill blades and adhesives – represent a major worldwide challenge. Their crosslinked structure presents many hurdles when it comes to recycling and responding to Europe’s desire for a circular economy.

The overarching objective of the CiMaC-program is to propose ground-breaking solutions to the major shortcomings of Covalent Adaptable Networks (CANs), being their long-term dimensional stability and (re)processing ability when using industrial techniques, thereby enabling the urgent uptake of these revolutionary thermosets from academic research to an industrial level. Covalent dynamic chemistry should ideally enable a combination of the bulk processing possible when using thermoplastics and the high durability of thermosets.

The unique concept to tackle this ultimate goal will start from his recognized expertise in precision macromolecular chemistry. The central idea is that the use of precisely engineered macromolecules as CAN-precursors will allow an unprecedented regulation of the resulting CAN properties through control over different molecular parameters. In this project, innovative synthetic protocols/methodologies will be implemented for both the development of robust, on-demand debondable adhesives, as well as for providing the first up-scalable extrudable thermoset materials.