The objective of BIZENTE project (https://specificpolymers.com/bizente/) is to develop multi-step degradation process to degrade thermoset materials (cured reference resins used) at their end-of-life. To do so, BIZENTE partners are working in parallel in order to develop specific enzymes custom designed on the basis of reference resin and, on the other hand, achieve chemical modification of the reference resins in order to favor enzymatic degradation. Indeed, due to the crosslinked nature of the thermoset reference materials, their direct degradation through enzymatic processes is unlikely to bring good results due to a lake of accessibility to the bulk of the material.
To figure out this issue, SPECIFIC POLYMERS developed and implemented chemical modification to the resins that ease the targeted degradation processes. 4 different reference resins characterized by different chemical natures (epoxy, vinyl ester, unsaturated polyester) are addressed within the project. The main strategy selected to favor the biodegradation of BIZENTE thermoset resins are based either on vitrimer technology (reversible bonds) and the incorporation of higher content of biodegradable moieties or hydrophilic moieties.
During BIZENTE project, SPECIFIC POLYMERS was able to propose new custom designed molecules and conceive new resin formulation integrating such degradable, reversible or hydrophilic moieties. Developed resins exhibit the same rheological and thermo-mechanical properties (glass transition temperature) than the current references. It was already proved that corresponding and BIZENTE partners are currently focusing on enzymatic degradation processes.