JCE 94.11 November 2017 Issue Highlights

Journal of Chemical Education November 2017 Cover

Polymer Concepts across the Curriculum

The November 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education is now available online to subscribers. The entire issue is focused on polymer concepts across the curriculum. This special issue provides useful ideas and tools for chemistry instructors of all levels.

Cover: Polymer Concepts across the Curriculum

Plastics, fibers, elastomers, and adhesives pervade our daily lives, ranging from commodity items made from poly(ethylene) and poly(vinyl chloride) to high-tech materials for aerospace, electronics, and medicine. Some are natural biopolymers such as cellulose and wool; most are products of synthetic chemistry. Because of the real-world applications experienced every day, students are motivated to learn about how polymers are made; how the unique thermal, mechanical, and optical properties of polymers are possible because of long-chain molecules. In response to a call for papers on polymer chemistry, this Journal of Chemical Education special issue provides useful ideas and tools for chemistry instructors of all levels, including foundational undergraduate courses as well as secondary school, general, and advanced chemistry courses, in addition to outreach efforts such as workshops and demonstrations for the public. These papers offer ideas and models for instructors to incorporate polymer chemistry into their own courses.


Warren T. Ford served as the guest editor for this special issue. As a professor at Oklahoma State University, he taught organic chemistry and polymer chemistry for many years before retiring to teach at Portland State University. In his Editorial, he introduces and contextualizes the Journal of Chemical Education’s “Special Issue: Polymer Concepts across the Curriculum”.

Polymers in the Curriculum

Inclusion of Synthetic Polymers within the Curriculum of the ACS Certified Undergraduate Degree ~ Laura L. Kosbar and Thomas J. Wenzel

History of Polymer Education in the United States through the Efforts of the Committee on Polymer Education and the Intersociety Polymer Education Council ~ Charles E. Carraher Jr., Erik Berda, Frank D. Blum, John P. Droske, Warren T. Ford, Bob A. Howell, John M. Long, and Sarah E. Morgan

Teaching Polymer Science in the Department of Polymers at the University of Concepción, Chile: A Brief History ~ Patricio Flores-Morales, Víctor H. Campos-Requena, Nicolás Gatica, Carla Muñoz, Mónica A. Pérez, Bernabé L. Rivas, Susana A. Sánchez, Mario Suwalsky, Yesid Tapiero, and Bruno F. Urbano

Polymer Chemistry Courses

The Contribution of IUPAC to Polymer Science Education ~ Chin Han Chan, Christopher M. Fellows, Michael Hess, Roger C. Hiorns, Voravee P. Hoven, Gregory T. Russell, Cláudio G. dos Santos, Adriana Šturcová, and Patrick Theato

A Primer on Polymer Nomenclature: Structure-Based, Sourced-Based, and Trade Names ~ H. N. Cheng and Bob A. Howell

Hybrid Course Design: A Different Type of Polymer Blend ~ Spence C. Pilcher

Investigation of the Influence of a Writing-to-Learn Assignment on Student Understanding of Polymer Properties ~ Solaire A. Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Audrey S. Halim, Timothy G. Chambers, Alena Moon, R. S. Goldman, Anne Ruggles Gere, and Ginger V. Shultz

Introductory Activities and Demonstrations

Polymer Day: Outreach Experiments for High School Students ~ Jeffrey M. Ting, Ralm G. Ricarte, Deborah K. Schneiderman, Stacey A. Saba, Yaming Jiang, Marc A. Hillmyer, Frank S. Bates, Theresa M. Reineke, Christopher W. Macosko, and Timothy P. Lodge (This article is available to non-subscribers through ACS AuthorChoice.)

Augmenting Primary and Secondary Education with Polymer Science and Engineering ~ Rose K. Cersonsky, Leanna L. Foster, Taeyong Ahn, Ryan J. Hall, Harry L. van der Laan, and Timothy F. Scott

Tie-Dye! An Engaging Activity To Introduce Polymers and Polymerization to Beginning Chemistry Students ~ A. M. R. P. Bopegedera (Also discussed in Erica Jacobsen's Especially JCE: November 2017.)

Using Polymer Semiconductors and a 3-in-1 Plastic Electronics STEM Education Kit To Engage Students in Hands-On Polymer Inquiry Activities ~ Jessica L. Enlow, Dawn M. Marin, and Michael G. Walter

Writing Without Ink: A Mechanically and Photochemically Responsive PDMS Polymer for Science Outreach ~ Cameron L. Brown, Meredith H. Barbee, Jeong Hoon Ko, Heather D. Maynard, and Stephen L. Craig

The Preparation and Simple Analysis of a Clay Nanoparticle Composite Hydrogel ~ David S. Warren, Sam P. H. Sutherland, Jacqueline Y. Kao, Geoffrey R. Weal, and Sean M. Mackay

Demonstrating Unique Behaviors of Polymers ~ Jialong Shen and Alan E. Tonelli

General Chemistry

Lengthening the Chain: Polymers in General Chemistry ~ John W. Moore and Conrad L. Stanitski

Modules for Introducing Macromolecular Chemistry in Foundation Courses ~ Chris P. Schaller, Kate J. Graham, Henry V. Jakubowski, and Brian J. Johnson

Investigating Saltwater Desalination by Electrodialysis and Curriculum Extensions To Introduce Students to the Chemical Physics of Polymeric Ion-Exchange Membranes ~ Kevin Tkacz, Samuel T. E. Nitz, William White, and Shane Ardo

Identification and Formulation of Polymers: A Challenging Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Chemistry Lab Assignment ~ Wanda J. Guedens and Monique Reynders

Organic Chemistry

Structure–Property Relationships of Small Organic Molecules as a Prelude to the Teaching of Polymer Science ~ Gary E. Wnek

Incorporating Polymer Science Lecture Topics into the Beginning Organic Chemistry Course To Engage Students’ Interest in Current and Future Applications ~ Bob A. Howell

The Distribution of Macromolecular Principles throughout Introductory Organic Chemistry ~ Joel I. Shulman

Using 1H NMR Spectra of Polymers and Polymer Products To Illustrate Concepts in Organic Chemistry ~ Mary L. Harrell and David E. Bergbreiter

Synthesis of Polystyrene and Molecular Weight Determination by 1H NMR End-Group Analysis ~ Jay Wm. Wackerly and James F. Dunne

Inorganic Chemistry

Methods for Introducing Inorganic Polymer Concepts throughout the Undergraduate Curriculum ~ Daniel T. de Lill and Charles E. Carraher Jr.

The Art of Silicones: Bringing Siloxane Chemistry to the Undergraduate Curriculum ~ Taylor B. Longenberger, Kaleigh M. Ryan, William Y. Bender, Anna-Katharina Krumpfer, and Joseph W. Krumpfer

Copolymerization of Epoxides and CO2: Polymer Chemistry for Incorporation in Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry ~ Donald J. Darensbourg

Analytical Chemistry

The Use of ATR-FTIR in Conjunction with Thermal Analysis Methods for Efficient Identification of Polymer Samples: A Qualitative Multi-instrument Instrumental Analysis Laboratory Experiment ~ Nicole M. Dickson-Karn

Discovering Volatile Chemicals from Window Weatherstripping through Solid-Phase Microextraction/Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry ~ Cornelia Rosu, Rafael Cueto, Lucas Veillon, Connie David, Roger A. Laine, and Paul S. Russo

Polymers and Green Chemistry

Green and Smart: Hydrogels To Facilitate Independent Practical Learning ~ Glenn A. Hurst

Polymeric Medical Sutures: An Exploration of Polymers and Green Chemistry ~ Cassandra M. Knutson, Deborah K. Schneiderman, Ming Yu, Cassidy H. Javner, Mark D. Distefano, and Jane E. Wissinger

Developing Students’ Understanding of Industrially Relevant Economic and Life Cycle Assessments ~ Claudia J. Bode, Clint Chapman, Atherly Pennybaker, and Bala Subramaniam

Illustrating Plastic Production and End-of-Life Plastic Treatment with Interlocking Building Blocks ~ Stephan Enthaler

From the Archives: A Feast of Polymer Activities

The Journal of Chemical Education has a long history of publishing polymer chemistry content. A sampling of some of the polymer activities in JCE in past issues include:

Polymer Basics: Classroom Activities Manipulating Paper Clips To Introduce the Structures and Properties of Polymers ~ Yunusa Umar

JCE Classroom Activity #11: What's Gluep? Characterizing a Cross-Linked Polymer ~ JCE staff

The Gelation of Polyvinyl Alcohol with Borax: A Novel Class Participation Experiment Involving the Preparation and Properties of a "Slime" ~ E.Z. Casassa, A.M. Sarquis, and C.H. Van Dyke

JCE Classroom Activity #80: Ions or Molecules? Polymer Gels Can Tell ~ Brett Criswell

JCE Classroom Activity #106. Sequestration of Divalent Metal Ion by Superabsorbent Polymer in Diapers ~ Yueh-Huey Chen, Jia-Ying Lin, Li-Pin Lin, Han Liang, and Jing-Fun Yaung; JCE Classroom Activity Connections: NaCl or CaCl2, Smart Polymer Gel Tells More ~ Yueh-Huey Chen, Jia-Ying Lin, Yu-Chen Wang, and Jing-Fun Yaung

JCE Classroom Activity #107. And the Oscar Goes to...A Chemist! ~ Collin R. Howder, Kyle D. Groen, and Thomas S. Kuntzleman; Creating and Experimenting with Fire Gel, an Inexpensive and Readily Prepared Insulating Material ~ Thomas S. Kuntzleman, Dakota J. Mork, Levi D. Norris, and Christopher D. Maniére-Spencer (These two papers are discussed further at ChemEdX in Holding Fire in the Palm of Your Hand by Tom Kuntzleman)

Bustin’ Bunnies: An Adaptable Inquiry-Based Approach Introducing Molecular Weight and Polymer Properties ~ Sean P. Mc Ilrath, Nicholas J. Robertson, and Robert J. Kuchta

Demonstrating the Effects of Processing on the Structure and Physical Properties of Plastic Using Disposable PETE Cups ~ Kendra A. Erk, Morgan Rhein, Matthew J. Krafcik, and Sophie Ydstie

Lithography of Polymer Nanostructures on Glass for Teaching Polymer Chemistry and Physics ~ Adi Sahar-Halbany, Jennifer M. Vance, and Charles Michael Drain

Microfluidics for High School Chemistry Students ~ Melissa Hemling, John A. Crooks, Piercen M. Oliver, Katie Brenner, Jennifer Gilbertson, George C. Lisensky, and Douglas B. Weibel

Take-Home Nanochemistry: Fabrication of a Gold- or Silver-Containing Window Cling ~ Dean J. Campbell, Richard B. Villarreal, and Tamara J. Fitzjarrald

Look to JCE for Many Concepts across the Curriculum

With over 94 years of content from the Journal of Chemical Education available, many concepts in chemistry have been discussed extensively—including the articles mentioned above, and many more, in the Journal of Chemical Education. Articles that are edited and published online ahead of print (ASAP—As Soon As Publishable) are also available.