Milk, it's good for us in more ways than one!

There are thousands of plastics that are made all the time, from every day items like egg cartons to spacecraft. Understanding plastic chemistry can help us understand how to fabricate and use plastic wisely. Once we're familiar with the varieties of plastics, we can recycle many of them and use them again. That's good for the environment.

Plastics are polymers. What is a polymer? The simplest definition of a polymer is something made of many units. Think of a polymer as a chain. To make the chain, many links or "mers" are hooked or polymerized together. Polymerization can be demonstrated by linking strips of construction paper together to make paper garlands or hooking together hundreds of paper clips to form chains. Most plastics are man-made from oil and natural gas, but some plastics are found in nature.

Milk is a protein that is used today in plastics. Milk is made up of very long molecules that bend like rubber until they harden. In this activity, we will make our own natural plastic from milk. Click here for the procedure.

Mini-Technology Summer Camps 2001
BCIT Chemistry Department