Description: In this video a watermelon is covered with a polymer and survives a drop from a large tower. The polymer is formed when two reactants join to make a flexible and durable polymer known as a polyurea. The chemical reaction is exothermic, releasing heat as the reactants combine. This phenomenon could be used in a unit on chemical reactions, extended structures or chemical engineering. The company Line-X uses this polymer to make bed liners for pickup trucks.
Description: Aerogels are a group of synthetic materials that are incredibly light and also amazing insulators. They have numerous applications such as insulators in electronics. Aerogels were used as thermal insulators in the Mars Rover and also act to filter space dust. This phenomenon could be used as an application of chemical engineering or as an example of a thermal insulators.
Web Resource: Aerogel - Wikipedia
Description: Precious Plastics was created in 2013 by Dave Hakkens. It is a website that shares DIY plans for building machines that can recycle plastic. Plastic is recreated through a non-reversible reaction and if it isn't recycled this valuable plastic is often lost forever when it is dumped in a landfill. These plans have spawned a community of DIY plastic recyclers around the world. Even though most students lack the ability to construct these machines it may lead to simple projects like the Ecobricks project linked below.
Description: Everyone loves slime...especially elementary students. This phenomenon is a great introduction into chemical reactions. The properties of the reactants can be compared to the properties of the products to show that a chemical reaction has occurred. In high school the chemistry of polymers and cross-linking can be explored through slime.
Web Resource: The Science of Slime - American Chemical Society