Chemistry society goes green for St. Patrick’s Day

Chemistry society goes green for St. Patrick’s Day

The Kennesaw State chapter of Phi Lambda Upsilon will be presenting its St. Patrick’s Day “Green Chemistry Demo” on the Green from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m on Friday, March 17.

“A lot of chemical reactions used are harmful and produce a lot of chemical waste that can be toxic to the air and the environment,” said Pearl Jean, a senior chemistry major and president of PLU. “With green chemistry, we’re trying to minimize that. People are starting to come up with new solvents that will minimize pollution and replace traditionally used methods and agents.”

PLU is also the National Chemistry Honor Society and will use this event to show students what some green chemical reactions actually look like.

“It might change color or take a form that wasn’t there before, so it’s engaging,” Jean said. “We want to do stuff that will really get people interest in chemistry, so we made sure all of our demos have actual, physical reactions.”

Volunteers from both PLU and the Student Affiliates of American Chemical Society will manage the event, some preparing the demonstrations behind the scenes and others working up front to conduct the chemical reactions for the crowd.

Jean said one of the most visually appealing demos to be shown is called “Golden Rain.”

“We’ll have a really big flask filled with a clear liquid compound. Then we add salts and metals, which dissolve in there,” Pearl said. “After we get the reaction going, within three minutes, it will have shiny, gold speckles form inside the solution that slowly begin to fall down.”

“It takes a while for them to settle, so it’s kind of like a snow globe,” she said.

As far as the color green goes, in spirit with St. Patrick’s Day, Jean said that green chemical reactions tend to be more toxic for the environment.

“We might try and do green nitrogen ice cream instead,” Jean said. “Kind of like Dippin’ Dots.”

The event is open to all students, as well as to the Metro Atlanta Chemistry Club, a club created by the parents of home-schooled high school students. The group will visit KSU to attend the event and tour the campus. Adrianna Cauthen, student leader of MACC, said that the club has not attended a green chemistry event before.

“We’re hoping to learn more about chemistry and all it involves,” Cauthen said. “We just want to have a good time and talk to people with some experience in the field.”

PLU often works with outside parties, including elementary schools, to host demos for students and teach them chemistry.

“We are trying to make our presence more known on campus as well,” Jean said. “We make an impact both inside and outside of our school by doing demos and fundraising for programs, which benefits our community.”

More information about PLU can be found at philambdaupsilon.org/about-the-society, and additional data about green chemistry can be found at epa.gov/greenchemistry.

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