Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Published on Polymers

Story by Washington Adventist University Staff / Image by feirern1

Washington Adventist University (WAU) congratulates Olivier Nsengiyumva, Ph.D., on the recent co-publication of his research on environmentally friendly plastic. This publication was part of the work conducted through his doctoral studies with his advisor Stephen A. Miller.

The paper titled Synthesis, Characterization and Water-Degradation of Biorenewable Polyesters Derived from Natural Camphoric Acid was published in the Green Chemistry Journal. Together with his advisor, Nsengiyumva synthesized a new polymer (plastic) that is capable of potentially degrading in water in a matter of two weeks. In general, plastic materials, such as those we use for take-out, are expected to take 500 years to break down.

On average, polymers used in our take-out containers or water bottles cannot handle temperatures above 75 degrees Celsius. However, some of the polymers studied by Nsengiyumva and Miller were able to handle temperatures from 100 – 125 degrees Celsius. This would allow products made of this material to withstand the heat from a hot beverage, or exposure to the sun without experiencing deformation.

The work which has been patented will take a few years to develop into a marketable product. Nsengiyumva looks forward to collaborating with his former advisor to improve the properties of these polymers, testing the toxicity of the by-products. However, since the George and Josephine Butler Laboratory for Polymer Research is located in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Florida, he expects to play more of a consultant role.

Last Fall Nsengiyumva joined the WAU campus community as an assistant professor of chemistry in the Depart- ment of Biology and Chemistry. He is excited to share his work with the Chemistry Department’s Journal Club to increase their knowledge and encourage their love for polymers.

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