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TEACHING EXPERIMENTAL CHEMISTRY WITH FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY

A.G. Rojas-Fernández1, A. García-del Valle1, M. Aguilar-Santelises2, M. Cruz-Millán1, M.T. Corona-Ortega1, L. Aguilar-Santelises1

1Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (MEXICO)
2Instituto Politécnico Nacional (MEXICO)
Human activities following industrialization often negatively affect the environment. Therefore, chemistry professionals must try to minimize such effects by exploring, designing and adapting processes capable of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment. Science and education must be oriented to sustainability, starting with teaching strategies that allow environmental awareness without interrupting continuous apprenticeship and development [1]. With that in mind, we have designed a new program for QFB students’ that starts right from the beginning of their career, helping them to build up a scientific concern for a sustainable future at the same time that they learn theoretical concepts and perform practical work to reinforce such concepts. Synthesis of Potassium aluminium sulfate was selected as an example for learning a process with sustainability [2]. This process is organized in three steps focusing first on aluminium as prime matter, secondly, on the importance of microscale synthesis instead of conventional synthesis and thirdly, on waste management, beneficial properties of the product and green chemistry principles [3]. It was observed with satisfaction that, by teaching this process, we stimulated questioning and reflection on each one of the steps. The need to continue producing aluminium was discussed on basis of minerals resources exhaustion, energy consumption and recycling [4]. Students could appreciate the contrast between conventional aluminium synthesis and microscale synthesis, as well as the benefits and value of microscale techniques in general. Sustainability and green chemistry principles were also discussed in order to develop a new proposal for more ample experimental work, towards building up an education that shows new concern from the very beginning of professional training for professionals more capable of taking proper decisions.

Supported by DGAPA PAPIME PE206913



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