BASF chemists provide creative learning
experience at student event
'Super Science Saturday' experiments highlight National Chemistry
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
“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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products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.®
BASF Corporation, headquartered in New Jersey, is the North American
affiliate of BASF AG, Ludwigshafen, Germany. We employ about 11,000
people in North America and had sales of approximately $9 billion
in 2003. For more information about BASF's North American operations,
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and high-quality products. BASF's portfolio ranges from chemicals,
plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals
to crude oil and natural gas. Through new technologies we can tap
into additional market opportunities. We conduct our business in
accordance with the principles of sustainable development. In 2003,
BASF had sales of approximately $42 billion and over 87,000 employees
worldwide. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet
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