The depolymerization of polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) in supercritical methanol was carried out using a batch-type autoclave reactor. The total conversion and the yield of dimethylterephthalate (DMT) increased with rising temperature. The final yield of DMT at 300°C and 310°C reached 97.0% and 97.7%, respectively. The yield of DMT was markedly increased when the methanol density was 0.08 g/cm 3 , and leveled off at higher densities. A kinetic model to describe the depolymerization of PET in supercritical methanol was proposed, where the scission of one ester linkage in PET by a methanol molecule produces one carboxymethyl group and one hydroxyl group. The values of the forward reaction rate constant at different temperatures were determined by comparing the observed time dependence of carboxymethyl group concentration with that calculated by the proposed model. The activation energy was evaluated to be 49.9 kJ/mol, a value close to a literature value (55.7 kJ/mol).
- Supercritical methanol