The concept of Flash Biodegradability is directly inspired by the above achievement of James Tour and team at Rice University, making “flash graphene” out of trash, a carbon byproduct.
Flash Biodegradability would ideally leave no tangible byproduct, such as trace elements or light — or create a useful byproduct such as water. Its successful realization and implementation would be revolutionary.
What would it take to turn the commonly used plastic Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET into either if those? Everything is connected, yet there are degrees of separation. So, how many degrees of Kelvin Bacon is plastic away from pure light?
Rice University successfully produced graphene from plastic waste with high pressure and a high temperature of 3,000 kelvin. The question is – how much hotter would the process need to get to go from solid to gas or plasma? That’s called “sublimation.” And plasma is a state of matter which is electrically conductive.
Turning trash into electrically conductive plasma implies a waste treatment facility that also doubles as a power plant. Well, there seems to no end to the waste we can produce, so why not convert that to unlimited energy. That’s the best kind of alchemy — turning a problem into a solution.
As you can see above, the polymer PET is fundamentally Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. The “ACDC” flash process used by Rice lab “first exposes plastic waste to around eight seconds of high-intensity alternating current, followed by the DC jolt.” This is also referred to as “direct current joule heating” and — this is notable — “that the ratio can be controlled by adjusting the duration of the flash.” (1)
The factors or settings for sublimation are: Time, Temperature & Pressure. A setting to consider here specifically in the Time category according to Rice is Rhythm or pulsations. And then another setting to consider is Angle because there are different angular configurations of molecules.
In achieving Flash Biodegradability, the task is the non-toxic denaturing of polymers.
Very Generally speaking, one could using high power light to produce light. This veers into the increasingly hot field of Optics.
CD burning for example is achieved with a blue laser. And High power Blue lasers demonstrably burn plastic fast. The challenge would be in that case preventing fires. A device would have to have appropriate settings and housing to be safe.
Now, on to another method and the possible creation of water. That could be achieved by extreme cooling, which causes plastic to become brittle and bonds to break, and then heating. In order to make water, perhaps one could rhythmically alternate between the two.
Coming up next: Designing a portable Flash Biodegradability device.