Mitsui Chemicals

Social Activities

Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry

Point three in the Mitsui Chemicals Group Social Activities Policy is, “Do its bit to nurture future generations, on whose shoulders the future rests.” In order to further this goal on a global basis, the Mitsui Chemicals Group launched the Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry program. Since 2006, we have organized various types of classes, from off-site classes, whereby members of staff from each of our sites go out to local schools, summer vacation events and festivals, to those held during tours round our works and research centers.
Approximately 5,000 children took part in classes over the course of fiscal 2017.

Taking into account the interests and opinions of the participants, the Laboratory Class themes are determined and developed by the Head Office and the Sodegaura Center. The Head Office also provides support for the creation and maintenance of manuals allowing development of the program at domestic and overseas group locations.

In recognition of these activities, we received the Catalysis Society of Japan’s 2015 Award for Education and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Award for Companies Promoting Experience-based Learning Activities for the Youth (Judge’s Commendation) in the large corporation category for 2015. In addition, we registered with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Support Group for Saturday Educational Activities Program and are working to spread education to even more children.

Holding our first Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry in Mexico

Group affiliate Advanced Composites Mexicana (ACP-M) held Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry at the company’s annual Family Day on 26 August 2017. While this was the first time these classes were held in Mexico, the local workers were able to benefit from the experience of Head Office staff to assure safety, procure the necessary materials, and translate manuals written in Japanese into Spanish. The children watched carefully as they learned how a liquid can turn into a solid and appear to have enjoyed the experience and the wonders of chemistry.
Looking ahead, we will also extend Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry to each of the Mitsui Chemicals Group’s bases.

A laboratory class in Mexico

A laboratory class in Mexico
A laboratory class in Mexico

Laboratory Class on the Wonders of Chemistry Held in Sunagawa City, Hokkaido

Affiliate Hokkaido Mitsui Chemicals Co., Ltd. jointly held a Laboratory Class on the Wonders of Chemistry with the City of Sunagawa, Hokkaido, on May 20, 2017.
Having invited Dr. Akira Suzuki (Emeritus Professor of Hokkaido University), who had won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2010, 80 elementary school pupils from the city participated.
Prior to the laboratory class, Professor Suzuki gave a lecture entitled “The Fun of Study and Research.” He spoke about how he himself had studied chemistry and followed a researcher’s path. His message was for the children to seek to have interests and to study them widely for future possibilities, and to make friends overseas.
With the cooperation of students from Sunagawa High School, experiments were conducted for the laboratory class to, for example, identify a liquid with an indicator made from red cabbage and create a blowing agent for bath use from baking soda and citric acid. The children who took part gave feedback comments that included: “We found out that the properties of an aqueous solution can be distinguished by color change using an indicator,” “Although I’m no good at science, I enjoyed taking part,” and “I would like to do chemistry in the future.”

The laboratory class in which even Professor Suzuki took part

Professor Suzuki with the children and others who kindly took part

Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry Experiments

Experiment titles are subject to change.
No.Experiment titleFieldRelated Group productsDescription
1Foamy urethane experimentChemistryChemical reactionsIsocyanate
Participants watch urethane, the uses of which include cushion materials, pillows and refrigerator insulation, being foamed and experience reaction heat and differences in hardness
・Making your own slime
・Making jumbo slime together
・Shiny slime
・Slime ball
ChemistryPolymer properties  By making "slime" (i.e. cross-linking polyvinyl alcohol with water using borax), participants learn that water can be confined and about the gels around us in our everyday lives
3Light experiments with polarizing platePhysicsLight  Participants learn about the passage of light through a kaleidoscope fitted with a polarizing plate that converts natural light into linear light, as used in mobile phones and other such devices
4Chromatography artChemistryAdsorption and separation  Participants learn that the ink in a water-based pen contains a mixture of various different colors (pigments)
5Plastic boardChemistryPolymer propertiesGeneral plastics Participants learn about the properties and separation of plastics, by using the heat shrinkable properties of polystyrene to make their own original accessories
6Let’s make Cartesian divers!PhysicsBuoyancy  Participants learn about buoyancy and pressure, by making a Cartesian diver from a PET bottle and a plastic soy sauce container
7Let’s investigate the properties of aqueous solutions using red cabbageChemistryAcids and alkalis  Using anthocyanin extracted from red cabbage, participants investigate the properties of everyday liquids and learn about acids and alkalis
8Let’s make an air freshener using spongy polymersChemistryPolymer propertiesNonwoven fabrics Participants learn about the principle of water retention, by making an air freshener from a water-absorbing polymer, as used in disposable diapers, gardening supplies and other such products
9Let’s make a rainbow towerPhysicsSpecific gravity  Participants learn about the specific gravity (relative density) of fluids, by pouring colored waters with varying concentrations together to make a tower
10Let's make a freezer!ChemistryHeat of solutionUrea Participants learn about the principle of heat adsorption via the heat of solution of urea, as used in such products as fertilizer and moisturizing cream
11Learn how bubble bath works!ChemistryReaction of acid and salt  Participants learn about how carbon dioxide is produced, by making bubble bath from baking soda and citric acid
12Learn about acid rain!ChemistryAcid and alkali Oxidation/reduction  Participants learn about acid rain and what causes it, by measuring the pH using red cabbage extract and conducting a bleaching experiment using iodine
13Let's make paper!TechnologyRecycling / Making paperAcrylamide Using everyday implements, participants experience paper recycling from old paper and learn about papermaking and recycling
14Let's make small objects from melted plastic!ChemistryPolymer propertiesGeneral thermoplasticsParticipants learn about the properties of thermoplastics, which melt when heated, by using a glue gun to melt resin and make small objects
15Experience the wonders of shrinking films!ChemistryPolymer propertiesFilms, PET, etc. Participants learn about the principle of heat shrinkage, by using shrinkable film to attach labels and make their own PET bottle
16See the power of air!PhysicsHydrodynamics  Participants learn about air resistance, by observing air rings emitted from an air cannon
17Let's make snow on pine cones!ChemistryCrystalsUrea Participants learn about crystal deposition, by observing dissolved urea being sprayed onto pinecones and drying
18Let's make light like a firefly!ChemistryEnzymes  Participants learn about the difference between bioluminescence and chemiluminescence by making light using each of luciferase enzymes taken from fireflies and using mineral-based chemicals
19Let’s try and absorb oil!ChemistryPolymer propertiesTAFNEL, Oil Blotter Participants learn about the principles and how to use adsorbent materials, by absorbing only the oil from mixed oil and water substances They also learn about the impact on the environment of oil spillage
20Expand? Shrink? Disappear?! Let’s look into the properties of mystery plastics! ChemistryPolymer propertiesAbsortomer Participants learn about the properties of a variety of plastic films, by taking steps to expand, shrink, and dissolve various plastics. They also learn about changes in polymers (plastics) attributable to temperatures