Testing Plastics

Plastics are everywhere.  They have an extraordinary range of uses, from soft drink bottles and packaging to car panels and building materials. The plastic that is used for an object has been selected because of its properties including its strength, its flexibility, its durability and its cost.

Supermarket bags are extremely convenient but also environmentally damaging.  Researchers and industry continue to search for cost-effective environmentally friendly biodegradable plastics.  To replace traditional supermarket bags, the new bioplastics must be as strong and resilient as the plastics used currently. Just how strong will these new plastics need to be to match the plastics used in the current supermarket bags? Are the biodegradable and recyclable bags being used as good as the traditional bags?


The following documents comprise the notes and instructions for this activity.  The Teachers Notes provide background information and along with the Technical Notes will enable teachers to use the activity.  The Student Notes (word docs provided so that you can adapt the activity to suit your needs) are provided as worksheets and sample answers are also included.

Testing Plastics Overview

Testing Plastics Teacher Notes
Testing Plastics Technical Notes

Testing Plastics Student Worksheet (Pdf)
Testing Plastics Student Worksheet (Word)

Testing Plastics Sample Student Answers


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