CleanerSolutions Database
Toxics Use Reduction Institute · Surface Solutions Laboratory
Toxics Use Reduction Institute

Surface Solutions Laboratory

Client Information

Client Number 236 (Recycling)

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Project Number 1

Summary: DBE is a relatively safe environmentally friendly solvent that dissolves a number of resins and plastics such as polystyrene. This makes the use of DBE attractive as a solvent for many plastics recycling applications. Partial solubility in water can lead to precipitation options for polymer recovery in an aqueous phase, and DBE itself can be recovered by vacuum distillation. DuPont is currently supporting several polymer-recycling projects ( Florida Chemicalís technical grade d-Limonene has been found to be an effective solvent for dissolving and compacting expanded polystyrene (EPS). D-Limonene (also know as orange terrenes) is a biodegradable solvent and degreaser occurring in nature as the main component in citrus peel oil. D-Limonene resembles the chemical structure of polystyrene and can rapidly break down the chemical bonds of EPS. The EPS pieces are floated on the surface of the d-Limonene until dissolved. The process can be accelerated by spraying d-Limonene directly onto the EPS. Florida Chemical has determined that between 300 kilograms and 400 kilograms of EPS can be dissolved in 100 kilograms of technical grade d-Limonene. ( Bio Chem Systems Bio T Max is another d-limonene solvent and can be used in the same method as mentioned above (

Test Objective: To find safer alternative to dissolve polystyrene scrap. Looking to replace Toluene, MEK, Acetone and Xylene.

Problems with Current Method: Uses hazardous materials

Purpose of Cleaning: Dissolve styrene to be used in safe road repair system.

Product Use: Will be used in safe road repair system

Cleaning Chemicals: Acetone, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Xylene, Toluene

Trial Number Date Run Purpose Success Rating
0 01/03/05 To identify alternatives for dissolving poly styrene. Results suggest a scale-up feasible match for cleaning chemistry and equipment. Pilot plant study with actual parts recommended. 
1 01/03/05 To generate a list of alternatives for dissolving polystyrene. Technology Transfer.