Simultaneous glycolysis and neutral hydrolysis of waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has been carried out at 170 and 190 °C with constant amount of ethylene glycol (EG) and increasing amounts of water, in the presence of xylene. The organic solvent made it possible to employ very low amounts of reactants as well as application of lower temperatures and pressures in contrast with previous methods, yielding intermediates suitable for PET or other polymeric materials. These intermediates were characterized by acid value (AV), hydroxyl value (HV) determinations as well as by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). A water soluble crystallizable fraction with high purity, consisting of mono 2-hydroxy ethyl ester of terephthalic acid (monohydroxyethyl terephthalate, MHT) monomer has been obtained with significant yield and its polymerization tendency has been compared with that of bis(2-hydroxy ethyl) terephthalate (BHET) by application of multiple heating/cooling cycles in DSC. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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