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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 20 (2015) pp 148-150

A Portable, Hands-on Demonstration of Photopolymerization for High School Students

Kaitlyn O. Toomey and Forrest A. Landis*

The Pennsylvania State University – York Campus, 1031 Edgecomb Ave, York, PA 17403,
Received January 13, 2015. Accepted March 18, 2015.

Published: 30 May 2015

Abstract. A demonstration of photopolymerization has been developed to encourage high school juniors and seniors to consider careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Students are first exposed to the science of polymers through a brief discussion. After this discussion, the students participate in an interactive activity where they move as free molecules and eventually “react” by holding hands to simulate the formation of polymer chains. After these introductory sections of the demonstration, the students conduct a hands-on experiment where they use visible light to convert a liquid monomer into a solid polymer. Upon completion of the demonstration, the students gain an introductory understanding of the chemistry of polymerization. In addition, the students can take home the photocured souvenir that they prepared in the experiment.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; polymer chemistry; organic chemistry; photopolymerization; visible light curing

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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