Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Polymer Basics

Polymer Basics     Name: Sinai Trapero

Use the sites on the Matter & Atoms page of the Kid Zone at to complete this worksheet.

Site #1: Hands On Plastics
1. Plastics are polymers, which is something made of many units similar to a chain. Each link in the chain is the “mer” or basic unit usually made out of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, silicon. To make the chain, many links or units are hooked or polymerized together.
2. Many common classes of polymers are composed of hydrocarbons, which contain the elements carbon and hydrogen. List seven elements that are also found in polymers: oxygen, chlorine, fluorine, nitrogen, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur.
3. What is one of the most famous silicon-based polymers? Silly Putty
4. What are the general attributes (properties) of polymers? A. Polymers can be very resistant to chemicals.
B. Polymers can be both thermal and electrical insulators. C. Polymers are very light in mass with varying degrees of strength.
D. Polymers can be processed in various ways to produce thin fibers or very intricate parts.
5. What percentage of our trash are plastics? 9.9%
6. What does WTE mean? Waste-to-Energy
What are two benefits of WTE? 1 –
We can use plastics that cannot be recycled. 2 – Incineration of polymers produces
heat energy.

Site #2:  History of Plastics
Read the information on this page to help you complete this section. Fill in the blanks with the year it was first
produced and the last name(s) of the person credited with the discovery/development. Use the information to list the
substances with dates from the oldest to the most recent in the box.

Rayon – Developed in 1891 by Bernigaut
Silly Putty - Developed in 1949 by Wright
Cellophane - Discovered in 1900 by Brandenberger
Parkesine - Discovered in 1862 by Parker
Nylon - Developed in 1939 by Carothers
Bakelite - Developed in 1907 by Baekeland
Velcro - Developed in 1957 by Maestral
Saran - Discovered in 1933 by Wiley
PVC (Vinyl) – Developed by Simon
Polyethylene – Developed in 1936 by Fawcett and Gibson
Teflon – Discovered in 1938 by Plunkett
Celluoid - Developed in 1869 by Hyatt

Plastics Timeline
Oldest to Most Recent
1 Parkesine
2 Celluloid
3 Rayon
4 Cellophane
5 Bakelite
6 Saran
7 Polyethylene
8 Teflon
9 Nylon
10 Silly Putty
11 Velcro

Site #3:  Polymers – They’re Everywhere

1. Click the “What are Polymers” link at the bottom of the screen and answer these questions. A. Polymers are tiny molecules strung in long repeating chains. B. What are three polymers found in our bodies? DNA, proteins,starches
2. Click the link for “In Nature” and use your mouse to find eight polymers in the picture. List them below.
Amber, silk, turtle’s shell, cow’s milk, animal horns, latex , lac, rosin
2. Click the “At Home” to learn about polymers that can be found around our homes. Use your mouse to find eight polymers and list them below.
Polyethylene, , neoprene, acrylics, rubber,Bakelite ,vulcanized rubber vinyl,polystyrene
3. Click the “Recycling” link and use your mouse to find eleven items made from recycled polymers in the park. For each item listed below, write down what it was used to make after being recycled. The number of blanks indicates the number of items for each polymer.
Peanut butter jar: Sweatshirt, Tote bag
Foam cup: Insulated jacket, Concrete
Bread bag: Trash can,Landscape Timber
Milk jug: Dog house, Picnic Table, Plastic Fence
Sandwich box: Playground equipment, flying disk (Frisbee)

Site #4 – Polymer Flash Activities
1. Click the link to make a virtual polymer and choose polyethylene.
A. What type of monomer is used to make this polymer? Ethylene
B. What elements and how many of each is in one of these monomers?
C=Carbon 2 H=Hydrogen 4
C. What starts the process? Initiator

2. Click the link to try the matching games.  Record your times or scores in the blanks below.
A. Breakfast Game– 1st Try = 9491  2nd Try = 9351  3rd Try = 9801
B. Polymer Game - – 1st Try = 9266   2nd Try = 9213  3rd Try = 9426

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