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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.