Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 5454-5459
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.1472
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Nowadays it is claimed to promote environmental conscientious and care through students in the field of chemical engineering, along with the development of more sustainable materials. On this way, the research group LEPAMAP from the University of Girona aims to explore new greener methodologies for the revalorization of fibrous residues by its incorporation on biobased polymeric matrixes, giving rise to the so-called biocomposites. The materials used for the present experience were cane residues (Arundo donax) from the reed species acting as reinforcement, and a biobased polyethylene (BioPE). In this field, chemical engineering is expected to take active part towards the development of novel environmentally friendly materials deprived from fossil resources. In addition, the chemical industry has often been popularly associated with polluting strategies, thus, the present work is presented as an opportunity to achieve better understanding on greener methodologies and materials amongst students. For all the above mentioned, new educational strategies in the mark of university are required.

In this context, members of LEPAMAP research group developed a demonstrative experience where all the production steps could be observed, from fibrous residues to value-added materials, with the idea of integrating students through direct participation. So far, the experience could be divided in three basic objectives: a) rise of environmental conscientious among students through the revalorization of fibrous residues into greener products, b) experience of production process involving mixing, thermoforming and testing of materials properties, and finally, c) acquisition of theoretical skills regarding green chemistry, sustainability and circular economy.

The success of the experience was evaluated first via direct supervision during the experience and second, by a satisfaction survey that students had to fulfill. In basic terms, the experience resulted satisfactory, as clearly reflected in the surveys, while participation and enthusiasm denoted great interest and environmental concern.
Sustainability, educational experiences, green products, chemical engineering.