A pair of hands stretch out a piece of polymer.

Safe, additive-free plastics for a healthier world

Safety and functional features are essential for polymer products used in medical, construction, transportation and plastic consumer products. Unfortunately, most chemical additives currently used to achieve these features pose serious threats to environmental sustainability and human health. 

In partnership with SimPol Technologies, Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) MASc student Hayden Mcgreal and professor Ehsan Behzadfar are developing a solution that enhances polymer’s quality without the aid of harmful and persistent chemicals for advanced barrier and anti-dripping properties. Through systematic formulation, rheological and physicochemical testing of the polymer’s composition, their research will implement technological advancements to optimize their sustainable solution for industrial settings.

MASc student Hayden Mcgreal is pictured on the left, and professor Ehsan Behzadfar is seen on the right.
MASc student Hayden Mcgreal (left) and chemical engineering and environmental applied science and management professor Ehsan Behzadfar worked together through Mitacs to further sustainable polymer development

The project’s initial findings, showcased at the 2023 Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference in Calgary, Alberta, highlighted the potential of this approach and opened doors for further research collaborations. Building on this momentum, Mcgreal and professor Behzadfar will delve deeper into the practical applications and scalability of their work, marking an important step forward in the advancement of sustainable polymers across different markets and applications. 

With plastic usage likely to increase in the coming decade, Ontario’s polymer manufacturing industry stands to benefit from new and innovative applications of sustainable polymers. This project is part of a broader national effort to reduce reliance on “forever chemicals” and establish a healthier environment.

Funding for this project by Mitacs. To learn more about how Mitacs supports groundbreaking research and innovation, visit the Mitacs website.