Chemistry at the University of Utah with Dr. Kaci Kuntz

Chemistry at the University of Utah with Dr. Kaci Kuntz

1-2 positions
Contact: Dr. Kaci Kuntz
10-15 hours/week from May/June to early August.

Orbeez are a polymer that swells in water environments through osmosis. These commonly known water-beads are often used in science demonstrations, decorations, and even plant-watering (which is what they were created for!). To dispose of these biodegradable materials, it is recommended to simply put them at the base of plants outside so that they can continually water plants as they biodegrade. However, what happens if an animal ingests them?!? Despite the ubiquitous nature of Orbeez and the recommended disposal method, there is limited knowledge on how Orbeez grow via osmosis under biological conditions (e.g. within the stomach of an animal such as a dog or cat). In this research, we will be mimicking stomach environments and then studying the osmotic equilibrium of Orbeez under these conditions.

This internship is best students interested in laboratory chemistry, biology, or STEM.

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