Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 5268-5273
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.1311
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
Currently, technical careers such as engineering are experiencing a significant decrease in the number of students. However, in a society with a high level of technological development that seeks to base its economy on the industrial sector, it is essential to encourage these vocations. On the other hand, careers such as chemical engineering are little known to society at large. In this sense, the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Girona aims to present these studies by presenting some examples of chemical engineering products. In this case, the production of polyurethane foams was proposed as an example for demonstrations. The discovery of polyurethanes was in 1937 and since then it has evolved in such a way that today it forms part of many products that we use every day as seats for cars, thermal or acoustic insulators in construction, in the packaging of fragile products, sports shoes, etc...

The components of polyurethane basically come from two raw materials: petroleum (poly isocyanates) and sugar (polyols). Mixing these two raw materials under the right conditions can lead to different types and qualities of polyurethanes: rigid foams (for insulation), semi-rigid, flexible foams or elastomers (rubbers). The two components of the mixture are liquids at room temperature and an exothermic chemical reaction takes place when they are mixed. During the reaction a solid, uniform or very resistant structure is formed. The expansion of the material to form the foam gives this reaction a great spectacularism to retain the attention of the public.

This demonstration was carried out repeatedly before students of different ages with the objective of using surveys to determine their degree of satisfaction and interest in chemical engineering. The results obtained demonstrated this demonstrative experience as a useful tool to make chemical engineering known.
Chemical engineering, innovation.