Discovering Science: Chemical Products


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

Duration :2 weeks

Weekly study: 5 hours

100% online : Learn at your own pace

Unlimited : $23.33/month

Accreditation : Available

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.

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 molecular properties.
  • 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.

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 collection of online courses, it is recommended that you complete Discovering Science: Science Writing before starting this course, however, this course can still be studied independently.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

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.


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