Contact FutureLearn for Support Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Online course

Discovering Science: Chemical Products

With chemistry providing us an endless amount of possibilities, what would you choose to develop?

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Discovering Science: Chemical Products

?
This course is part of the Discovering Science program, which will enable you to learn about the extraordinary world of everyday chemistry, and earn 10 credits from the University of Leeds.

Why join the course?

For centuries natural materials have been used by people to meet their daily needs. Discover how scientists are using their knowledge of the molecular structure of naturally occurring compounds to develop new and exciting materials. From clothing to tooth enamel, the possibilities are endless. You’ll also consider the chemistry behind the development of everyday consumer, and consider the ethics behind the products you use.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsChemistry plays a vital role in the development of everyday consumer products. From cleaning agents to the material in our clothing, our lives are affected daily by the results of chemistry research. In week one, Dr. Bruce Turnbull helps you examine how the molecular structure of biomaterials, such as cotton and silk, has led to the development of bio-inspired manmade fibres. Explore how research has progressed over the past century, and find out about exciting biological developments which are inspiring the materials of the future. In week two, Professor Chris Raynor considers the science and ethics behind consumer chemical products, like toiletries and detergents.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds Explore how the future developments of consumer products offer scope for innovation, and discover the role that chemists play in assessing the risks and the benefits of developing these types of products. As part of the Discovering Science programme, this course will demonstrate how science is communicated and will further develop your science writing skills, helping you reach a wider audience. Sign up now for Discovering Science.

What topics will you cover?

  • Everyday biomaterials and their molecular properties.
  • The molecular structure of wool and silk and how this has developed over the last century.
  • The influence of natural materials on the development of man-made fibres.
  • The potential uses of self-assembling peptides within the human body.
  • The creation of hydrogels from self-assembling peptides.
  • The development of synthetic spider silk.
  • The future of bio-inspired materials.
  • The creation of composite biomaterials that combine organic and inorganic components.
  • Assignment: prepare a press release to communicate the science of ‘composite bio-inspired materials’.
  • The science and environmental impact of everyday household products.
  • The evolution of effective, safe and economical products.
  • The use of surfactants in household products.
  • The chemistry of hair dyes and how they are tested and regulated.
  • The significance of the chemical industry.
  • The complexity between scientific fact and public perception of consumer products.
  • Parabens and the controversy that surrounds their use as preservatives.
  • Construct a science writing text.
  • Assignment: prepare a newspaper article about the controversy around the use of parabens.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Identify how an understanding of natural fibres has led to the development of synthetic fibres.
  • Explore how bio-inspired materials have the potential to make significant impacts on our everyday lives.
  • Investigate the chemistry behind everyday household products.
  • Explore the impacts of consumer products.

Who is the course for?

The course is suitable for anyone with a general interest in chemistry; no previous knowledge or experience is required.

If you are working in the field of science and would like to practice and improve your science writing skills, this course is designed to support you as a professional. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.

If you intend to complete the Discovering Science program, it is recommended that you complete Discovering Science: Science Writing before starting this course, however this course can still be studied independently.

Who will you learn with?

Paul Taylor

I'm from Holmfirth in Yorkshire. I'm a Professor at the University of Leeds. I'm Director of Student Education for Chemistry and research on cancer & evolution www.chem.leeds.ac.uk/People/Taylor.html

Who developed the course?

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service: This course has been accredited by the CPD Certification Service, which means it can be used to provide evidence of your continuing professional development.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $94 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

Image access mobile

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

Image tests mobile

  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose to take a course for free.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

Image certificate mobile

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.

Upgrade


Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs