Team questions session 6 – 18 March 2015

4. Acid deposition is an issue in eastern Canada as many waters and soils here lack natural alkalinity like lime base and hence cannot neutralise acid naturally. Places like Ontario has it worst as their water and soil systems cannot deter the outcomes of high acid deposition.

The 9 largest coal burning states are in Midwest and Ohio River valley which is estimated to contribute to 2/3 of acid rain in Northeast and Eastern Canada.

In 2005, 50-70% of Canada’s acid rain came from the US.


Air. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from

Script for Video One: THE SCIENCE SHOW

Characters: Host, Expert, 3 Audience Members, 1 producer

Host enters to a cheering audience. We see “APPLAUSE” sign held up by producer.

Host: A very good evening and welcome to THE SCIENCE SHOW. This week, we’ll be talking about plastics! Do you guys like plastics?

Audience: YES!!!

Host: Have you ever felt like a plastic bag?

Audience: YES!!

Host: That’s very strange. Without further ado, let’s bring out our expert of the day, Pauly Mer.

Expert walks out and takes a seat.

Host: Welcome to our show. Mr Pauly Mer, lemme ask you, what are polymers?

Expert: Polymers are typically macromolecules, which are derived from petrochemicals. They consist of repeating monomer units, which are strung together to form the larger macromolecule.

Host: Wow. So informative. Anyway, why are some plastics hard, while others are soft. Some are flexible, others rigid?

Expert: Plastics vary in their melting points, elasticity, rigidity, tensile strength and crystallinity, among many other physical and chemical properties.  For example, plastics, in general, are lightweight, although their weights vary significantly from each other.

Host: That’s fantastic. Let’s take a question from the audience. (Randomly points at audience)

Audience 1 walks up to microphone.

A1: OH MY GOSH! I’m so happy to finally meet you! Ok, calm down, calm down. I wanted to ask: What’s your least favourite polymer?

Expert: Well, I really hate High Density Polyethylenes, or HDPEs.

A1: OH MY GOSH! Me too!

Host: Ok, that’s enough, audience member! Go sit down. Ok HDPEs are made up of compact polyethylene macromolecules. Let’s take a look at what that looks like.

Cut to Ethylene Macromolecule.

Host: Look at that nasty little thing. So, how are HDPEs formed?

Expert: (Cut to Ethylene Production video and ) Petroleum is cracked to produce ethylene gas. The ethylene gas molecules are then linked together to form polymers and produce polyethylene. This process is called addition polymerisation, and is conducted under low pressure, with an aluminium-based catalyst.

Host: Now it’s time for another audience question. You! (points to audience)

A2: Um, I was, um, wondering… what makes HDPE so useful?

Expert: [with keywords and host getting bored/ producer asking to speed up/ A2 sleeping/ A1 still being a fan] Well, I hate to say this but HDPE is pretty useful. It has a high density. Because of the absence of branches, the long, linear macromolecules are able to be packed closely to each other. It also has a relatively High Melting Point. Since the macromolecules are packed close together and the intermolecular forces of attraction are much stronger. These stronger forces also give HDPE a higher relative strength. HDPE is rather rigid, due to its regular, close packing, giving it a high tensile strength. HDPE is also chemically inert due to its existence as a stable compound, and since it’s a large macromolecule.

Due to its properties, HDPE plastics are used to make a variety of durable products, including:

  • Frames
  • Ballistic plates
  • Fuel tanks
  • Fireworks
  • Water pipes
  • Hard hats
  • Folding chairs and tables
  • Lunchboxes (Show Buzz Lightyear lunchbox)

Host: Oh, you’re done? Ok great! Well, since you took so long to answer his question, we only have time for one final audience question. You! (points to audience)

A3: Hey, expert, what’s your problem? What’s wrong with HDPE? I love HDPE, okay? In fact, my favourite Buzz Lightyear lunch box is made of HDPE. (Show same Buzz Lightyear lunchbox) What is wrong with HDPE?

Expert: Well, HDPE isn’t biodegradable. In fact, it takes 1000 years for a HDPE plastic bag to dissolve in the environment. The micro-organisms that are responsible for decomposition aren’t able to recognize how to break down a carbon-carbon bond.

A3: Then, why can’t we just manufacture plastics out of peptide bonds?

Expert: Well, it’s simply because peptide bonds have a very short shelf life. So if your lunchbox was made with peptide bonds, you’ll probably only have it for 2 days.

Cut to producer indicating that it’s time to wrap up.

Host: Ok, that’s all the time we have for you, folks! Have a great night and remember to keep recycling.



Meeting Log #4 – 18 March 2015

Location: Benches outside NBS, opposite LT 24

Time: 12pm

Duration: 1.5 hours

A brief meeting before class to finish up on the remaining unfinished part on “Chemical Concept”.  Everyone was present for the meeting.

After which, we went on to discuss about the ideas for our first video. Ideas suggested include: news broadcast (probably more applicable to the second video about implications), talk show style.

We have decided on filming our video as a talk show style. We would need an empty tutorial room for the location, and we will film using Rish’s iPad. The brainstorming session results are as follows:

The talk show will include a host, an expert talking about the chemical concepts, while the rest of our team members will be the audience who are entitled to ask the ‘expert’, questions about certain chemical concepts.

Please refer to our assignments tab for more details.

Things to do before/during the next meeting:

– Finalise the script and start filming