Made to measure : Easy Synthesis and Characterization of Nanocomposites with Tailored Functionalities for Chemistry Education
By adding nanoparticles to classical polymer systems, new functional materials with tailored properties can be obtained. The great variety of possibilities opens up just as many interesting fields of application for industry and science. Following on from this, this article will present how the classical educational subject area of polymers can be extended by a current research context. In a series of experiments, students are using inexpensive chemicals and simple materials from the hardware store to produce nanocomposites that have a much greater hardness or antimicrobial activity than polymers alone. Their properties can then be investigated using a simple test method. Overall, it will be illustrated, that the combination of polymer chemistry and nanotechnology offers a variety of learning opportunities and questions with curricular relevance for schools and student laboratories.