Environmental Chemistry

A Visit to Natural Fiber Welding: Demonstrating Green Chemistry in Action

The theme to the 2022 National Chemistry Week, observed October 16-22, is “Fabulous Fibers: The Chemistry of Fabrics”. A visit to Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. in Peoria, IL, revealed how that company is using ionic liquids to solvent weld cellulose fibers together to produce more durable yarn which can then be made into more durable fabric. The production method and “greenness” of the product is discussed, from the cellulose itself to the recycling of the solution used in the welding process. Macroscopic demonstrations of the fiber solvent welding process are also described. 

Seawater Chemistry and Global Trade: Part 4

Continuation of the practical application of chemistry to seemingly something unrelated- global maritime trade. In this classroom activity students predict the buoyancy (and hence stability) of a merchant cargo ship based on interpretation of seawater surface salinity values. Like in the first three posts, the question types are conceptual. 

Seawater Chemistry and Global Trade: Part 3

This is the third post in a series dealing with seawater chemistry and global maritime trade. This classroom activity introduces the concept of salinity and tasks students to predict the range of salinities in certain regions of the ocean (coastal and open water, all four hemispheres, high and lower latitudes). Enjoy...

Online Activity: Chemical Kinetics and the “Radium Girls”

The classic classroom or lab activity using coin flips to illustrate the first order kinetics of radioactive decay is connected to the tragedy of radiation exposure of workers at facilities using radium-containing luminescent paint. Some of the chemistry related to the contamination of these “radium girls” is explored, with connections being made to the Principles of Green Chemistry and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Free Climate Science Workbook for Teachers

The Wisconsin initiative for Science Literacy has published Science Climate Concepts Fit Your Classroom - A Workbook for Teachers. This is a free online Workbook, readily available for secondary teachers and college faculty. This workbook includes many hands on activities that incorporate traditional science classroom concepts within the context of climate science.