Plants to Plastic: Polymerization of PA-11, a renewable plastic

I remember being about seven years old and asking my mom, after staring at a plastic straw for a few minutes, “Where does plastic come from?” Her response was the typical answer — plastic is made out of oil. As a child, I thought this was weird, because I knew that petroleum oil was an icky-sticky gross black liquid crud that cars needed for some reason and I couldn’t comprehend how it made the straw for a juice box, but I accepted the answer anyway.

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That might be a bit of a stretch — Materials Testing System

In much of our research in the polymer lab, we’re looking to find molecular weights using the SEC-MALLS (Size Exclusion Chromatography — Multiple Angle Laser Light Scattering) and CIV (Corrected Intrinsic Viscosity). I’ve already written a blog post about CIV and I’ll save SEC-MALLS for later. But sometimes, we look at more than just the molecular weight — we’re looking at the mechanical properties of a sample of aged or fresh polymer.

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Go With the Flow – A First Week Back in Lab

I’ve recently moved in, got my bearings, cleaned like crazy and come back to lab. For the Chemistry department, the week started off with a Safety Seminar and tour of the Integrated Science Center – including some modeling of lab coats, a rarely seen peak of the neutralization system, and fire safety training.

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