Traditional vs. UV-Cured coatings – an inquiry-based experiment for introducing green chemistry

Kinga Orwat, Paweł Bernard, Szymon Wróblewski, James D. Mendez


The aim of this article is to present a hands-on laboratory experiment, which enables students to become acquainted with the idea and some principles of green chemistry in the context of the manufacture and use of lacquers. Environmental concerns, particularly the regulations concerning Volatile Organic Compounds have resulted in a dramatic change in the coating markets and traditional solvent-based (SB) technologies are being replaced by new, environmentally friendly processes based on ultraviolet (UV) or electron beam (EB) curing. In this exercise, the technological processes of SB and UV lacquers production and application were simplified and adapted for a school laboratory. The obtained lacquers are fully functional products with repeatable, easily measurable properties, which depend on the composition directly. The proposed method in this exercise is based on guided inquiry, however, it may be realized in a more or less open form, depending on the teacher’s goals, needs, and preferences.


High School/Introductory Chemistry; Laboratory Instruction; Inquiry-Based Learning; Green Chemistry; Paints/Lacquers.

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