The Only Way is Up – The future of plastics lies above the ground

Avantium – Renewable Chemistry – The Future of Biorefining

College: making plastic

The majority of plastic is made from fossil resources. In this video chemist Bert Weckhuysen (Utrecht University) shows how polyesters are made. He also explains whether it would be possible to make plastics from natural materials, and why it is a very bad idea if all these new plastics are biodegradable!

School program

“Meet & Greet with chemistry”

How to make plastic from milk?

Do try this at home!

At Avantium we make the bioplastic PEF. You can make plastic yourself. Read more to see how.

The things you will need:

  • Cup of milk
  • Vinegar
  • Screen
  • Pan
  • Optional: paints and brushes

Let’s get to work:

1. Heat the milk in a pan, but make sure it does not boil. 2. Add a few tea spoons of vinegar to the milk and keep stirring. The milk will get lumpy. 3. Pour the mixture through a sieve. The lumps that remain are ‘milk plastics’. 4. Knead the plastic milk well. 5. Knead now a fine-cutter milk clay. If you shape flagged dry for a few days, you can paint it afterwards. How is this possible? Milk contains a substance called casein. Normally the casein dissolves in the milk. But if you add sour vinegar, casein changes a little bit. The fabric does not dissolve more than in the milk. As a result, there are plastic chunks in the milk.

How to make a volcano?

Do try this is at home!

A volcano is an explosive thing. In this experiment you are going to make your own volcano that can really explode. Exciting!

The things you will need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Red dye (eg. Fake blood from the party store)
  • 1 empty soft drink or water bottle
  • Detergent
  • Vinegar
  • 1 glass

Let’s get to work:

Put the bottle on the ground and add three teaspoons of baking soda. Throw in the red dye and a few drops of detergent. Pour half a glass of vinegar to the stuff. Do you already see the streams ‘lava’? Create then a big pile of sand and push it firmly. Get a little sand in the middle. Your bottle should fit inside. The top should remain open. Your volcano is ready!

How does it work? When you mix the soda and vinegar, there will be carbon dioxide. The bubbles are lighter than the liquid, therefore they want to get to the top. Because the opening of the bottle is narrower than the space inside the bottle, the pressure will become greater at the top. The carbon dioxide reacts with the detergent. This creates a red, foaming mass that sprays out of the bottle because of the high pressure.