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BASF chemists provide creative learning experience at student event
'Super Science Saturday' experiments highlight National Chemistry Week activities

GEISMAR, La., October 19, 2004 -- In less than half a minute, the bucket of sticky, mucky “goo” changes into a type of polyurethane foam used in today’s car seats and other applications.

Creative experiments like this were demonstrated by BASF chemists at "Super Science Saturday," held Oct. 16 at the Louisiana State University Field House, much to the amazement of the approximately 700 students from local elementary and high schools who attended the five-hour program.

The event is part of National Chemistry Week, an annual outreach program of the American Chemical Society that aims to enhance the public's awareness of the contributions of chemistry to our everyday lives.

“Our objective is really quite simple,” said Steve Gagnon, one of the chemists from BASF's Geismar site. “We want the students to have fun while we show them how chemistry fits into their lives.”

Assisted by fellow chemist Jon Speier and chemical engineer Helen Cane, Gagnon repeated the polyurethane foam demonstration 25 times throughout the program. After mixing a BASF product called Pluracol® Polyol and other ingredients in a gallon bucket, the students observed a "foaming reaction" that caused the mixture to rise like a cake in a pan and subsequently transform into foam.

“The 'hands-on' experiment showed how a polyurethane foam is formed using water as the blowing agent, instead of using chlorofluorocarbons, which is good for the environment,” commented Speier.

Students also were invited to analyze the many urethane products that BASF helps make better.

"At BASF, we focus on finding innovative solutions that help make products better, so we are proud to provide these students with an 'up-close' look at our world and the many benefits of modern chemistry," said Mike Cohen, Senior Vice President and General Manager of BASF's Geismar site.

BASF's Geismar site manufactures a wide range of products that are used in hundreds of consumer products.

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For more information, contact:
Helen Cane
Geismar, La.
Tel: (225) 339-7207

Glenn Majeski
Florham Park, N.J.
Tel: (973) 245-6070


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