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Biodegradability of Polymers

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lydia haile

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of Biodegradability of Polymers

Lydia Haile
Biodegradability of Polymers
photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
What is Polystyrene?
Common name
Petroleum based plastic

Carbon; 93%-97%
Hydrogen; 10%15%
Nitrogen; 1%-1.5%
Sulphur; .5%-6%
Many common uses;
Insulation etc.
Petroleum impact
Why Use Alternatives?
Possible Health Impacts
5th largest hazardous waste producer
Test each of these plastics for their biodegradability and effect on the planet
Cornstarch Polymer
Potato Polymer
Observe the polymers' response to water and soil
This is bonded to form the polymer
Why starch?
Poly- Many
What are Polymers?
Mer- Unit
Monomers are the single units within Polymers
Double carbon bonds take freely moving Monomers into linked thick Polymers
Starch acts as a humidity absorbent
Completely biodegradable
If cornstarch polymer and potato polymer are placed in cups of water and soil, then cornstarch polymer will completely biodegrade in a span of 5 days while the potato polymer, extracted naturally from white skinned potatoes will biodegrade only partially.
Why Plastics?
Summer Ventures in Science and Mathmatics
Results (water)
4% Degradation
4.4% Degradation
Results (soil)
2% Degradation
2.4% Degradation
When placed in water and soil, cornstarch based polymers as well as potato starch based polymers will biodegrade at approximately the same rate. This conclusion can be drawn based on the fact that both polymers were starch based. Potato starch and corn starch are both of the same molecular structure therefore the actual plants which they are derived from do not greatly, if at all, effect the degradation of the polymers.
anonymous, Brandon. "Make potato plastic!." instructables. none, anoy. Web. 13 Jul 2012. <http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Potato-Plastic!/ >.
Approximately the same rate of degradation
Starch is starch
Potato starch and corn starch of the same molecular structure, therefore the actual plants they are derived from do not greatly, if at all, effect degradation
Essentially meaning:
Why Polymers?
Non-renewable bases
Reliance on other countries
Fundamentals Of Polymer Science
by Paul C. Painter and Michael Coleman
"Polymers and Monomers." Materials world modules. Northwestern University, 2009. Web. 13 Jul 2012. <http://www.materialsworldmodules.org/resources/polimarization/2-polymers monomers.html>.
"Waste Reduction: The Facts on Styrofoam." High Country Conservation Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jul 2012. <http://www.highcountryconservation.org/pdf/The Facts on Styrofoam.pdf>.
Mentor: Dr. Mathur
Summer Ventures 2012
July 14, 2012
Cornstarch (water and soil)
Cornstarch (water and soil)
Dr. Mathur
Dr. Myers
Full transcript