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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beautiful Polymers

2.00pm till 4.00pm is the time for my group to attend Lab for Engineering Materials.

Today was the second Lab session after started 5 weeks of tuition(studies). The task for this second Lab was related to Polymer. Basically, there were 2 parts for this Lab, Part A was 'Resorcinol-Formaldehyde Resin' while Part B was 'Polymerisation of Methyl Methacrylate'.

As for the Part A, all we have to do was *let me copy and paste* stir 1.75 g of resorcinol into 2 mL of ~35% formaldehyde solution in a test tube. Add 0.25 g of oxalic acid into the resorcinol and formaldehyde mixture an stir well. If necessary, warm carefully over a steam bath. After a few minutes the reaction mixture will become very hot and copious amount of formaldehyde fumes will evolve.

As for the Part B, *let me copy and paste* place approximately 1.2ml of methyl methacrylate monomer in a test tube, add 0.02 g of benzoyl peroxide, stoppered the test tube loosely with cotton wool and heat in a boiling water bath. After 20 – 30 minutes, the liquid suddenly becomes very viscous and soon sets to a hard, colourless mass of polymer.

The reaction for Part A was SUPERB fast, don't know how should I describe the reaction and I had no picture to show. While the Part B took a lot of time, plus, my team failed the 1st attempt and resulted we need to repeat the same procedure for Part B. And at last, success, check the pictures below, it's Polymer!

Beautiful huh? It looks like crystal wasn't it? But you gotta know that, IT WAS STINK!!! Like what people always says, 'don't judge a book by its cover'. The smell is very nice harmful and may cause cancer! I accidentally smell it from a distance, OMG.



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