From conditioning shampoo and detergents to nail polish and wall coatings to antimicrobial polymers and drugs, chemistry can be found everywhere in our everyday life! IHPC’s latest student seminar investigates more.
IHPC’s scientists from the Materials Science & Engineering Department put together a seminar “Chemistry – It’s Everywhere” to share their research on computational chemistry in the consumer care and consumer products industry. Held at Matrix, Biopolis, on 30 August 2016, the seminar was attended by more than 300 secondary school, junior college and polytechnic students and teachers.
Dr Daniel Cheong from the Materials Science & Engineering department started the seminar by giving students an introduction about the symbiotic relationship between theoretical, experimental and computational chemistry. He emphasised that computational chemistry helps scientists overcome experimental limitations, and also helps to reduce time and cost of conducting experiments. Increasingly, computational chemistry is widely applied in the research of products for the consumer care industry.
Dr Freda Lim also shared a different perspective into the design of molecules and substances with consumer-desirable properties. Using the example of a nail polish, she explained how her team tries to understand fundamental interactions of coatings molecules in computer models, which helps them to redesign coatings and other products that are better for the consumer, and friendlier to the environment.
Finally, the seminar’s guest speaker, Dr Alexander van Herk from A*STAR’s Institute of Chemical & Engineering Sciences, put up a rambunctious demonstration by melting a plastic cup in the theatrette. Through this experiment, Dr Herk demonstrated the properties and structure of polymers, and explained the uses of polymers in specialty chemicals such as coatings and controlled release capsules.
The students’ seminar ended with a panel discussion moderated by the emcee, where students and teachers had the chance to interact with the scientists, and ask questions related to computational chemistry and high performance computing.