June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.231.1 - 15.231.12
Biodegradability of Plastics Testing in an Undergraduate Materials Laboratory
As a growing concern for the environment has become an important issue nationally and globally, more efforts have been in place to sustain our resources. Sustainable materials are of increasing industrial importance. As such, it is imperative that students are educated about the importance of these materials. One such material is biodegradable polymers. A laboratory procedure for testing biodegradability of polymers was designed for an undergraduate materials laboratory course. Testing biodegradability of plastics allows students to gain a fuller understanding of these materials. Implementing biodegradable testing in a curriculum provides active learning by hands-on testing and encourages students to engage in lifelong learning to continue to build their knowledge of emerging materials. This paper describes an investigation of testing biodegradability of biodegradable plastics by monitoring carbon dioxide evolution and degradation of physical properties. A cost-effective method to test biodegradability is also described.
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