The Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) integrates sustainability issues that focus on the science and technology of polymeric materials into research, education, and public outreach initiatives. Members of the center concentrate their research efforts on harnessing the renewable, functional, degradable and non-toxic ingredients provided by Nature for tomorrow's advanced plastics, foams, adhesives, elastomers, coatings and other macromolecular materials. To foster innovation the CSP partners with numerous companies that develop, implement, and advance technologies in the sustainable polymer industry. In addition to the research mission of the CSP, members also foster outreach activities to educate future scientists and the public about the science and technology of sustainability.
Prepare to Inspire
41 high school students and 17 undergraduate mentors visited the CSP this fall as part of the Prepare2Nspire program organized by the STEM Education Center. CSP graduate student Angelika Neitzel (left) works with students to dissolve PLA plastic into lactic acid. Students then compared the effectiveness of the lactic acid as a cleaning agent to other products, including commercially available green cleaners.
Bayer Lecture in Sustainability
Even a late April Minnesota blizzard couldn't keep more than 200 people from coming out to hear Proefessor Geoff Coates's lecture, "In Pursuit of the Perfect Plastic", this spring. In his lecture Coates explored the question, "Can we create the perfect plastic from renewable resources that is also environmentally friendly?", and he discussed his own exciting work in the field.