Sartomer, Arkema promote science in schools

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Ken Sweeney thanks the four teachers who took part in the first Arkema Science Teacher Program held at Sartomer in West Chester. (Candice Monhollan)

Ken Sweeney thanks the four teachers who took part in the first Arkema Science Teacher Program held at Sartomer in West Chester. (Candice Monhollan)

WEST CHESTER — The United States may slowly be improving in math and science, but it still sits only in the middle of the pack internationally.

To help improve the schools, Sartomer, a division of Arkema, held its first in-house Arkema Science Teacher Program at its West Chester site on South Bolmar Street.

Arkema has been running the program itself for roughly 15 years, but after purchasing Sartomer, decided to implement the program there as well.

“Arkema and (Sartomer) bought science kits,” said Kerry Acker, safety specialist at Sartomer. “One kit alone is about $1,400. What we do is invite the teachers in and they setup their kits. These science kits all load up in their cars and they’ll take them home with them. At the beginning of the school year, come August or September, they will already have all the information and everything. They’re going to hit the school year running.”

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

Sartomer, which is a chemical company, creates products which are then used in various other markets.

“We make products called acrylate and methacrylate monomers,” said Ken Sweeney, plant manager at Sartomer. “They’re used in inks and coating, such as paint, flat-screen technology, fiber optics — we’re in a lot of different things.

“We’re a component of something. We’re not the end product, but we’re a component of it. We bring some type of enhanced, physical properties or clarity.”

And to Sweeney, that’s not even the most fascinating part of what Sartomer does.

“The interesting part about the product is how it gets cured,” he said. “We’re making a liquid and after it gets cured, it will get hard. It will give some property to whatever is being used. It could be optical property for glasses or for the screen, or strength property for a coating on a table. It’s cure either using UV light or electron beam or peroxide.”

The four teachers who took part in the first year came from Mary C. Howse and Exton elementary schools in the West Chester Area School District and two from East Fallowfield Elementary School in the Coatesville Area School District.

Though the program seemed to go off without a hitch, the Sartomer employees who took part in the program have already been thinking ahead for what they can do next year.

“This is our first year doing it and it has been a learning experience,” Acker said. “The teachers have taught me some things and they have learned some things from our site and are pretty amazed at what we do here.”

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Categories: Business, Education, Science

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