Posts Tagged “chemistry”

Our presentations for the Chemistry of Sustainability were a few weeks ago.  Heres the video of both of the presentations.  The first is on photovoltaics in the San Luis Valley, and the second is on biofuels.

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I just presented at the lunchtime talks here at school.  This was part of a chemistry project we had to do and I am very glad to be done with it.  The past two weeks have been non-stop between this chem project, a mountain geography project, and tests.  Now, only two more projects left for the semester.  Then Zion!

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The bioplastic we made was all dried and hardened today.  While this specific plastic’s uses are somewhat limited due to its brittleness and low melting point, it’s still cool to see biodegradable plastic.  Here are some pictures of the sheets we ended up with.
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Today in my Chemistry of Sustainability class we took a break from lecture and went to the lab to make some bioplastic “glass” sheets.  The whole process included no more than mixing a few packages of store-bought gelatin and glycerine (in proper amounts of course), heating them to just below boiling then pouring the solution onto a cookie sheet.  This will harden over the next few days into a plexi-glass type substance which is totally biodegradable.  Here is a picture of the solution on a hot plate being mixed by a stir bar at the bottom of the beaker, creating the funneling effect.
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One of my classes this semester is Chemistry of Sustainability.  The class takes a look at sustainability related issues including green chemistry, materials, production of energy, and climate change from a chemistry perspective.  This class is taught by the wonderful Marty Jones, a recent recipient of the Presidential Teacher Award.  One of the perks of receiving this award is that the selected teacher has the opportunity to create a course of his or her choice… and this class is Dr. Jones’s fresh, never been taught before, creation.   As a final project for the course we, the six of us in the class, must do a presentation on a subject pertaining to the chemistry of sustainability.  My group selected to research biodiesel and the other group will be investigating photovoltaics.  Both groups will be presenting at a lunchtime talk on April 21st.  I’m pretty excited about learning more about biodiesel from a chemistry perspective because, like so many other “green” products, there is much to learn beyond what you hear in everyday media.

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