Simple pyrolysis of polystyrene into valuable chemicals

Chao LU, Hang XIAO, Xi CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Overuse of polymer products has led to severe environmental problems, which are threatening survival of creatures on earth. It is urgent to tackle enormous polymer wastes with proper cycling methods. Pyrolysis of polymers into high-value chemicals and fuels is displaying great potential to address the white pollution issue. In this study, we focus on chemical recycling of polystyrene, an important polymer in our everyday life, into valuable chemicals through simple pyrolysis strategy under nitrogen protection. It is found that yield of liquid product from polystyrene pyrolysis achieves as high as 76.24%, and there exists single component in the liquid product, which has been identified as styrene through hydrogen nuclear magnetic resonance spectra. Moreover, we propose monomer dissociation mechanism to explain the pyrolysis process of polystyrene based on the structure of polystyrene and experimental results. © 2021 Chao Lu et al., published by De Gruyter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-432
Number of pages4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding information: This work was supported by the Earth Engineering Center and Center for Advanced Materials for Energy and Environment at Columbia University.


  • chemical recycling
  • dissociation mechanism
  • polystyrene
  • pyrolysis
  • styrene monomer


Dive into the research topics of 'Simple pyrolysis of polystyrene into valuable chemicals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this