World of Plastic

Isn’t plastic bad? Why are we trying to make new kinds of it?

  • Introduction to different kinds of material (specifically different kinds of plastic).
  • Why are there so many kinds of plastic? What makes them different? Why do we care about plastic when it is so bad for the environment?
  • Brief overview of how plastic structure affects plastic properties and therefore function.
  • Engineering challenge: use different ratios of ingredients to create slime!
  • Challenge test & discussion.
  • Extension – Just like how the structure of slime is affected by the ratio of ingredients, different properties of plastic can be manipulated. Adding a specific molecule, Millad NX8000 to a certain type of plastic- polypropylene -increases its clarity, or transparency, while also being recycle-able.

Parallels to MMLI Research:

Thrust 3 works on Molecule and Material Manufacturing to develop products such as more transparent plastics. Post doctoral scholar, Tapas Adak is studying how Millad NX8000 can be used more efficiently to improve the speed of plastic manufacturing and decreasing the amount of waste created/materials wasted in the process. 


MMLI Science Experts/Lesson Contributors

Students at molecule maker camp 2023 explore the world of plastics through everyone’s favorite activity – slime making. Students learn how additives can change the structure of polymers by seeing how it affects their slime. Pictured: smooth slime as a result of hand lotion.