The Treatment of Oil Spills—Microscale Chemistry

This The Treatment of Oil Spills—Microscale Chemistry activities & project also includes:

When oil spills happen, how is the oil cleaned up? Pupils of polymer science discover an amazing substance that turns oil into a solid during a microscale experiment. Individuals observe oil or paraffin before and after addition of the polymer, then apply them to large-scale oil spills.

7 Views 5 Downloads NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Use the activity as a demonstration, then launch an inquiry project that has students evaluate the polymer as a solution to human impact on marine ecosystems
  • Conduct a class discussion about the uses of the polymer on a large scale and examine its advantages and disadvantages
Classroom Considerations

  • Discuss polymer chemistry before performing the experiment if learners are not familiar with the structure of polymers

  • The activity has several applications, including to show the link between environmental science and engineering
  • Teacher's guide contains a printable worksheet and student reference materials

  • None