World of materials

The section offers a set of articles about materials and petrochemistry. It aims to help teachers and students get further background information on the key themes of the project.

How does the automotive industry rely on petrochemistry?

When consumers buy cars, they compare vehicles not only on the basis of marque or colour, but also their costs, safety, and level of CO2 emissions. The chemical industry’s research and innovations contribute to the properties of a car. Innovative chemicals also improve drivers’ comfort and safety in the form of antifreeze and other fluids, rubber tyres and hoses, plastic dashboards, and the coating of a modern car.

How are chemicals used in art restoration?

Art restoration is a partnership between art and chemistry. Starting with the natural pigments used on the very first rock paintings, chemicals have been used by artists since the most ancient times. Today, modern chemicals, such as solvents, resins, fungicides, and silicones, are essential to preserve the world’s artistic and cultural heritage.

(Petro)chemicals: who needs them?

Imagine what it would be like to live a day without using, wearing or touching chemical-based objects. Not that easy – chemistry is an indispensable part of modern life. Computers are filled with polypropylene, cars, household machines and electronic devices are constructed of components with petrochemicals, and food is packed in plastic.

Petrochemical building blocks for climate change solutions

Climate change is at the top list of environmental concerns that the world currently faces and in order to avoid severe damage to the planet, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced in all regions, all over the world. With the help of continuous research and development, the chemical industry is providing new solutions to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s inside your media player?

Millions of portable media players have been sold over the last few years. Young people are especially crazy about this hi-tech gadget. But have you ever thought what’s inside this digital device and what makes it so handy?

Chemistry and the environment: help or hindrance?

Environmental issues such as climate change, water pollution and renewable energy make the news headlines and have become increasingly important in every day life. Many people perceive chemistry and the chemical industry as harmful to the environment. However, many new advances and scientific researches in the field of chemistry are helping us to develop more environment friendly materials and applications, while preserving the quality and the lifestyle we expect.

Accidental discoveries

Do you know what the invention of the telephone, the Post-it note and the discovery of Velcro have in common? All were discovered by accident. Usually scientific progress is associated with rigorous research and analysis, but it’s not always the case. A surprising number of discoveries owe a lot to chance.

Resources: background information

You can have fun learning about chemistry! This is a selection of useful resources focusing on petrochemistry and materials. This set of teaching and learning resources aims to help teachers prepare lessons and give students further background information on the key themes of the project. These resources are available in various formats including Web links, quizzes and online games.

Chemistry: an option for careers

Heli is 13 years old and lives in Espoo, close to Helsinki, Finland. She enjoys going to the local school and will soon start her 7th year. Last year she failed a science test and had some extra classes with Mr Tovalen, a specialised science teacher. After a few weeks under Mr Tovalen’s leadership, Heli saw chemistry as a fun and fascinating topic and even decided she would work in the Research Lab at the Porvoo refinery.