GLRPPR Sector Resource: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities: Polymeric Sutures in the Teaching Lab
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities: Polymeric Sutures in the Teaching Lab
The original goal of this project was to develop a new laboratory experiment intended to teach green chemistry and sustainable polymers to students in introductory chemistry courses. An ideal lab experiment could be easily adapted for more or less advanced levels from high school to a sophomore undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory. For versions of the lab developed for use at the high school and general chemistry level, the laboratory experiment should use materials and equipment that are inexpensive, widely available, and innocuous. Variations of the experiment developed for use in a sophomore undergraduate course would ideally involve the synthesis and characterization of a polymer using molecular characterization techniques already familiar to students taking a sophomore organic laboratory course. Finally, the laboratory experiment should not generate toxic waste and would ideally incorporate renewable materials.
An experiment was proposed that would introduce students to the topic of polymer synthesis and characterization through a lab experiment designed to study polymeric sutures. The proposed experiment was attractive for several reasons: First it could be easily adapted for a more or less advanced laboratory course. Students without a basic understanding of organic chemistry could simply make sutures from commercially available polymers or study suture degradation without making their own homemade sutures. Students at a more advanced level could make and characterize their own copolymers. Second, it was anticipated that the experiment would be appealing to students, particularly students interested in medicine or veterinary science. It was expected that this experiment would additionally highlight a real world application of degradable polymers familiar to most students.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Case study/success story
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