Team:TU Darmstadt/Project/Material Science


Material Science

The material science group main focus is the synthesis of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and structural analoga for the study of the degradation mechanism. To accomplish this challenging task we work with a spectra of methods ranging from organic synthesis to atomic force microscopy. The interaction of the synthetic (PET) and the biological polymer (enzyme) was a matter of particular interests.

Our group is the intermediator between the theoretic simulation and applied degradation group. With our investigation of surface interactions of the degradation enzymes on different surface structures of PET we are able to supply data to both teams. Using atomic force microscopy (AFM) the resulting data we provide, will contain information about the enzymes activity and how the degradation mechanism depends on different PET modifications. This data is essential feedback to both the simulation and degradation department for it poses a chance to verify the simulated models and the choice of enzyme for PET degradation.

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Due to the crystalline nature of PET a huge variety of PET structures with different characteristics may exist. We try to explain how the crystallinity, the surface character of the PET and the additives (crystal nucleus, plasticizers) effect the degradation process.

First we characterize the PET with light microscope detection. For exact analysis of different PET modifications it is necessary to know their specific compositions. Therefore our group will synthesise pure PET and serveral analogs. The analogs are used for characterizing the enzyme function and kinetics with UV-VIS-detection.

With diparanitrophenyl succinate and paranitrophenyl dihydrocinnamate we successfully synthesized two PET analoga. These were degraded by the degradation team using pNB-Est13[1]. Furthermore we could demonstrate enzymatic activity on PET surfaces using atomic force microscopy[2].

Check out or labbook for the details: Labjournal Material Science or continue to section 5. Simulation.