Within the BIZENTE project, TU Delft is responsible to evaluate the activity of enzymes on low molecular-weight model compounds of representive thermoset composites. The model compounds should comprise the same main structural elements of the target polymers in order to understand how the enzymes could degrade the respective polymer. The chemical structures of the intially aimed model compounds are shown below. They derive from the polymers Hexflow®RTM6, Araldine®LY1568 DION®IMPACT9102 and R930A.
Specifically, glycerol derived model compounds were synthetized. These molecules have a simple chemical structure, are easily to synthesize and allow a first assessment of potential enzyme candidates for the degradation of more complex thermoset composites. The synthezied model compounds were tested as substrates for hydrogen-peroxide (H2O2) dependent-enzymes such as peroxygenases and peroxidases. Activity towards the model substrates was positively detected. Investigations on the reaction conditions provided information on product selectivities of the respective enzymes and indicated which limitations for degradation need to be overcome by further engineering.
You can also learn more about the progress of the study of the potential of ligninolytic enzymes in the degradation of complex thermoset composites in this article.