The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), with support from Davis-Standard, is encouraging high school students to explore plastics applications and engineering through the PlastiVan program in November and December.
The 21-year-old program increases student knowledge of the role of plastics in modern life and promotes careers in engineering. Specific material covered includes how plastics are processed and manufactured; information on designer polymers; applications using super absorbing polymers; cross-linking of polymers; how history has impacted engineering; and more. Students take part in several activities including learning how to manipulate polymers by putting a kabob skewer through a balloon.
The PlastiVan visited Westerly High School in Westerly, Rhode Island, Nov. 20-21 and will visit Stonington High School in Pawcatuck, Connecticut Dec. 5-6. A total of 15 classes will participate in the program.
 “The PlastiVan Program is a great way to excite young people about the science of plastics, and the vast opportunities the industry has to offer,” said SPE Foundation Director Eve Vitale. “We travel to schools and companies throughout North America, educating people of all ages about plastics chemistry, history, processing, manufacturing, sustainability and applications. For students in the Westerly-Pawcatuck area this is especially beneficial because they have a global leader in the industry, Davis-Standard, just down the road.”
Jim Murphy, Davis-Standard President and CEO, agreed, noting the company wants to expose students to local opportunities.
“This ranges from building machines that process polymers to the engineering and testing that makes it all possible,” he said. “The industry is continually changing as well as the plastics technology involved in making many products we see on a daily basis such as food packaging, molded parts on cars, the plastics covering on wire products, medical tubing and devices and hygienic products such as diapers.”
Society of Plastics Engineers
Davis-Standard, LLC