Dr Manuel Montano
This quarter I had the opportunity to work in Dr. Montaño’s laboratory to develop protocols studying the environmental degradation of polymers using Raman Spectroscopy. We chose to use the Raman Microscope for this experiment because it is often used to detect chemical structures by laser excitation, therefore we could use this technique to visually understand the changes in structure made to the test material before and after experimental weathering. To conduct this experiment, I chose two environmentally relevant polymers: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and Polycarbonate (PC). These polymers are used in a wide variety of plastic packaging and additives commonly found in microplastics. To simulate environmental stressors, we chose to chemically degrade LDPE and PC using hydrolysis and photolysis. Hydrolysis is the chemical degradation of materials through reactions with water and photolysis is the chemical degradation of materials through reactions to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Lee, Ashlyn, "WWU Research Assistant Intern" (2023). College of the Environment Internship Reports. 130.
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