Contact Information

  • George D. Bennett
  • Professor
  • Chemistry
  • Millikin Univ.
  • 1184 W. Main St.
  • Decatur, IL 62522
(217) 424 - 6394

A Green Polymerization of Aspartic Acid for the Undergraduate Organic Laboratory

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Because of the ubiquity of polymers, chemists are looking for ways to make polymers renewable, biodegradable and with less waste. In this laboratory chemistry students will have the opportunity to make poly(aspartate), a polymer that fulfills all the abovementioned goals.

The synthesis of this condensation polymer starts by simply heating neat aspartic acid for two hours to form poly(succinimide), washing the solid, drying, and then hydrolyzing to yield poly(aspartate). If time allows, students can then titrate their polymer to calculate the approximate molecular weight.

This lab provides instructors with an opportunity to teach students about the principles of green chemistry, polymer chemistry, condensation chemistry, hydrolysis reactions and titrations.

Supplemental information includes background information, lab procedures, student handouts and post-lab questions, and instructor notes.

Summary prepared December 2008 by Douglas M. Young at the University of Oregon.


Bennett, G. D. J. Chem. Educ., Print 2005, 82, pp 1380-1381.

J. Chem. Educ. (Abstract only)

Category Descriptors

Chemistry Concepts
  • Aqueous Solution Chemistry
  • Carbonyl Chemistry
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Natural Products
  • Polymerization
Laboratory Techniques
  • Titration/Volumetric Analysis
  • Vacuum Filtration
Green Chemistry Principles
  • Design for Degradation
  • Design Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
  • Design Safer Chemicals and Products
  • Prevent Waste
  • Use Renewable Feedstocks
  • Use Safer Solvents/Reaction Conditions
Chemistry Subdiscipline
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymer Chemistry
Target Audience
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Journal Articles