Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Deran Hanesian

Second Advisor

Edward Charles Roche, Jr.

Third Advisor

George Y. Lei


The complete process for separating Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS), Polyurethane (PU), and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) from a mixture of postconsumer plastics materials was presented. The driving forces considered to achieve separation were different densities and selective solubility of plastics in specific solvents.

The proposed process separates Polyurethane and Polystyrene by using aqueous solutions of different densities. On the other hand, the other five plastics are separated using solvents.

Diagrams showing streams and plastics separation in each unit were discussed. Individual material balances for each step were performed for a total feed stream of 50,000,000 pounds per year of the different plastics mixture.

The complete material balance for the entire process was programmed using QUATTRO PRO, which allows fast calculation of the streams when changes in data are introduced.