INTRODUCTION TO ECOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY USING ENGLISH AS A REFERENCE LANGUAGE

The Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Girona has continuously modified the Chemical Engineering Degree in order to satisfy the Bologna Declaration and the student’s requirements. It is the case of the Ecological Chemistry course were the topics were update to more actual problematics in the chemical industries and the evaluation system has been adapted for the competences implanted in the European normative. In this sense, the students are not qualified by a final exam. Different methods are used in order to promote the critical thinking of the students and the English and communication capacities.

During the course, the students analyze real cases of the chemical industry where a problematic is solved in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly form. Nonetheless, there is a special case proposed in the polyamides field where an environmentally friendly material was developed long time ago and it is not well stablished as greener alternative. Polyamide 11 (PA11) is a totally bio-based polyamide that can be also produced in a biotechnological form and is well stablished in the Europe market since the 50’s. Although their properties are similar and in some case better than polyamide 12 (PA12) that is totally oil-based, industries have preferred to use PA12 instead of PA11. It is in the most recent years that PA11 has attracted the interest of the market.

In this case, the evaluation system proposed was to write an opinion article and defense their opinion in an open debate about this phenomenon. The synthesis and the properties of both polyamides are explained in the theoretical classes. However, the students need to recollect information from scientific journals, company catalogues, market prices, etc., to prepare and defense its opinion. The opinion article is written in English, but the debate is performed in English and Spanish in order to use key words in two languages. The objective is to promote the research and the communication capacities of the students. Students tends to feel self-confidence and more critical after this case.