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Closed-loop additive manufacturing of upcycled commodity plastic through dynamic cross-linking

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Science Advances
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A sustainable closed-loop manufacturing would become reality if commodity plastics can be upcycled into higher-performance materials with facile processability. Such circularity will be realized when the upcycled plastics can be (re)processed into custom-designed structures through energy/resource-efficient additive manufacturing methods, especially by approachable and scalable fused filament fabrication (FFF). Here, we introduce a circular model epitomized by upcycling a prominent thermoplastic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) into a recyclable, robust adaptive dynamic covalent network (ABS-vitrimer) (re)printable via FFF. The full FFF processing of ABS-vitrimer overcomes the major challenge of (re)printing cross-linked materials and produces stronger, tougher, solvent-resistant three-dimensional objects directly reprintable and separable from unsorted plastic waste. This study thus offers an imminently adoptable approach for advanced manufacturing toward the circular plastics economy.