The purpose of this study was to develop curriculum in Green Chemistry using analytical techniques suitable for the General Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry classes. This was done by modifying several techniques that monitored the extent of degradation of decomposable biopolymers in common plastic products, specifically products containing polylactic acid (PLA). Several new lab activities were developed for both the General and Analytical Chemistry classrooms. Gravimetry was successfully employed in the general chemistry classroom as a way for students to monitor the temperature dependence on rate. An introduction to acid base titrations was accomplished while measuring the extent of mineralization of PLA in compost. The techniques of solid phase extraction and fluorescence spectroscopy were introduced to Analytical Chemistry students in a third lab, which monitors changes in molecular weight with degradation of PLA. Finally, upper-division students were able to utilize the principles of green chemistry in the planning and execution of an analysis of choice by using the nemi.gov database. With careful curriculum planning, it was found in this work that it is easy to incorporate green chemistry in to other traditional chemistry courses. This will help meet the goals of outgoing GCI director Bob Peoples (and others) that, green chemistry not be considered a niche topic “covered” in only one class “but that it should pervade the training of all chemist[s] going forward” because “it is the future”.
Final Report Form, Poster