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MWM Researching Biodegradable Materials


									Title            MWM Biodegradable Materials Module: Activity 5 – Researching Biodegradable
Developer        Materials World Module Team              phone: (847) 467-2489
                 Northwestern University                  fax: (847) 491-4181
                 2115 North Campus Dr.                    email:
                 Evanston, IL 60208

Student Level    Middle or High School

Activity Type    Research report

Materials        General
Materials        Properties (biodegradability)
Chemistry        NA
Format           Print – Student and Teacher editions (pgs 26 – 27)

Description      The purpose of this activity is to allow students to learn about a specific biodegradable
                 material, which they will research and write an organized report about. This will let
                 students recognize the interaction of people in various fields of science and technology
                 in the process of developing biodegradable materials and gain exposure to some of the
                 different careers involved in development of biodegradable materials. It is not
                 necessary, but it is recommended that students visit a local research university or
                 institution to meet real life contacts working in a research field.

Instruction      Up to two weeks, long-term homework
Supplies &       None
Available        Developer (See above)
Cost             Contact publisher

To abide by copyright laws only the first page of this two-page activity is included.
Materials World Modules – Biodegradable Materials Module
Activity 5 – Researching Biodegradable Materials

D~iigning ~i Mgdicjng-
How are new biodegradable materials designed, tested, and produced? Do this
research project to find out.                                                                D

                                              Could biodegradable materials be used
                                              someday to make new body parts? Some
                                              researchers think so. They are presently
                                              developing biodegradable polymers that
                                              can be used to regenerate skin, bone, and
                                              other types of tissues. Human cells are
                                              grown on the polymers, which are then
                                              implanted in the body. The cells perform
                                              their specialized functions while the
                                              polymers degrade.

                                              Biodegradable materials have many
                                              applications in medicine, engineering,
                                              agriculture, and other areas.

                                                Do research to learn about a
                                                biodegradable material that interests you.
                                                The list to the left may help you select a
       topic. You may also select from the list of biodegradable objects you identified in
       Activity 2. Your report will be due at the end of the module.

                                         Use library references or online resources to
 Dental implants                         find out how the biodegradable material you
 Fertilizers                             have chosen was developed, what it is made of,
 Medicine-delivery microcapsules         how it degrades, and how it is used. Look for at
 Orthopedic implants                     least three sources of information. These may
 Packing materials                       be found in books, magazines, and on the
 Sutures                                 internet. Keep a complete bibliography of all
 Tissue regeneration                     your sources. You may also wish to contact and
                                         interview experts in the field, such as
                                         bioengineers and materials-science

26   Biodegradable Materials Module

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