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  • Astani Civil and Environmental Engineering Seminar

    Fri, Mar 25, 2022 @ 12:30 PM - 01:30 PM

    Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Dr. Kristopher McNeill, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich

    Talk Title: An Environmental Chemist View of Biodegradable Plastics

    Abstract: Contamination of the environment with plastic is a long-recognized problem, but in recent years, there has been a remarkable increase in public attention and outcry regarding plastic pollution. The low cost and durability of plastic materials, which make them desirable for many applications, are the same factors that contribute to their accumulation. The low cost lowers the barrier to short- term and single use applications and the durability means that, once in the environment, these materials are highly persistent. On this latter point, there is a growing interest and market for non- persistent, biodegradable plastic materials, which could help the problem of accumulation of plastic in the environment. This presentation will focus on several key questions about these alternative biodegradable materials: How do we know that a material is really biodegrading instead of just breaking down into microplastic? How does the receiving environment affect biodegradability? Are there applications where biodegradable plastics are viable alternatives to conventional plastics? What are the challenges that we face from an environmental chemistry perspective?

    Biography: Prof. Kris McNeill received his B.A. in Chemistry from Reed College (Portland, Oregon) in 1992 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1997. At Berkeley, he was co-advised by Professors Robert Bergman and Richard Andersen. Following his PhD, he switched his research focus from organometallic chemistry to environmental chemistry. He was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT from 1997 to 1999 with Prof. Philip Gschwend in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. McNeill began his independent career as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Chemistry, holding ranks of Assistant Professor (2000-2006) and Associate Professor (2007-2009). In 2009, Kris McNeill joined the faculty of ETH Zurich, where he continues to apply physical organic chemistry to the study of environmental processes.

    Host: Dr. Daniel McCurry

    More Info: https://usc.zoom.us/j/93390473354 Meeting ID: 933 9047 3354 Passcode: 527888

    Location: Ray R. Irani Hall (RRI) - 421

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Evangeline Reyes

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