Project Examples

Impact of Additives in Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Products

Course: 26.215 – Plastics Process Lab I
Semester: Fall 2006
Instructor: Carol Barry
Partner:National Plastics Center

Partnership Description: Actual samples of PVC pipe from the Village Empowerment Peru Project were collected and brought to the U.S. for study. The students (in teams) were asked to 1) determine the probable safety of PVC products in developing nations – i.e., where toxic additives likely to used in the PVC products, 2) test leaching of plasticizers, stabilizers, and other organic additives from PVC pipe purchased in Peru and used by the Peru Project for various water systems, and 3) evaluate the likelihood of plasticizer migrating from PVC gaskets into polycarbonate lenses used in Peruvian-made safety goggles.

Partnership Description: Actual samples of PVC pipe from the Village Empowerment Peru Project were collected and brought to the U.S. for study. The students (in teams) were asked to 1) determine the probable safety of PVC products in developing nations – i.e., where toxic additives likely to used in the PVC products, 2) test leaching of plasticizers, stabilizers, and other organic additives from PVC pipe purchased in Peru and used by the Peru Project for various water systems, and 3) evaluate the likelihood of plasticizer migrating from PVC gaskets into polycarbonate lenses used in Peruvian-made safety goggles.

2006-07 Evaluation: The students were very interested in this project because of its societal significance. The close tie with the material introduced in Polymer Materials I course also enhanced the students learning of PVC additives and the issues associated with the poor perception of PVC. Although many problems occurred with the experimental work, this S-L project was generally successful. As a result, the fall 2007 S-L project for this course will investigate synthetic fiber forming polymers for the American Textile History Museum.