Green Chemistry

Greening Across the Chemistry Curriculum English | Versión en Español Flag Spain| Versão em Português (Brasil) Flag Port

Design and Application of Surfactants for Carbon Dioxide; Making Carbon Dioxide a Better Solvent in an Effort to Replace Solvents that Damage the Environment 


     Daryle Busch, president of the American Chemical Society said "Green chemistry represents the pillars that hold up our sustainable future.  It is imperative to teach the value of green chemistry to tomorrow's chemists.”

    Because green chemistry is rapidly becoming the wave of the future, we believe that it is very important that students are exposed to green chemistry in many courses across their chemistry curriculum.  These green chemistry modules were developed by a team of faculty members from the University of Scranton for the purpose of inserting green chemistry into specific courses encompassing the chemistry curriculum.  It is our hope that other instructors will use these modules as models for infusing green chemistry into their courses.  We encourage instructors to use, modify and copy them according to their needs for educational purposes, however any commercial use is prohibited unless permission of the authors is granted.  We ask that you let us know when and how you use them ( This will aid us in the assessment of the outcomes of this project.

    In order to use the modules we suggest that you first have your students read the Introduction to Green Chemistry and then the specific module for your course.  You may then want to discuss this material in class.  To aid you in presenting the material in class, each module is equipped with a set of PowerPoint slides.  You may want to have students make hard copies of the PowerPoint slides to aid in note taking.

    Although each module was developed for a particular course we encourage instructors to peruse all the modules and find ways to infuse additional green chemistry into all the courses you teach.  Other efforts to bring green chemistry into the classroom can be found at greenchemistry.html

    This module would be suitable for use in a general chemistry course during discussions of phase diagrams, supercritical fluids, and molecular polarity.  Since most general chemistry texts contain a discussion of surfactants, the module can serve as a supplement to the text.  This module can be used to tie supercritical fluids, molecular polarity, and surfactants together while teaching environmental issues and green chemistry.

   Polymers are also introduced in this module at an elementary level.  Although students in a general chemistry course may not have had any exposure to organic chemistry, that level of preparation is really not needed to understand the concept of large molecules and their behavior as a surfactant.  Introductory students may be intimidated by the polymer structures since they may be the most complicated chemical structures they have seen so far.  Encourage students to focus more on the properties of the polymers (CO2 -phobic and CO2-phillic) than on the details of the structures.

This module can also be used in a polymer chemistry course to teach green chemistry and demonstrate polymer applications.  Requiring these more advanced students to further explore the fluoropolymer and copolymer synthesis may assist in providing them with greater depth of the polymer chemistry than that provided in the module.