The challenge to develop CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) replacements: A problem based learning case study in green chemistry

Alan Heaton, Simon Hodgson, Tina Overton, Richard Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The value of case studies for teaching both subject specific and transferable skills within chemistry have long been recognised. Coupling this with problem based learning provides a powerful basis for teaching transferable skills within a chemistry context. This problem based learning case study does this via the fascinating story of the industrial challenge to develop CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) replacements on a very short time scale. It provides a vehicle for developing team working, communication, critical thinking, data interpretation and problem solving skills in a 'real life' context. It also introduces students to environmental issues and green chemistry plus the role of the chemical industry in developing solutions to these issues. The, often competing, interplay between chemistry, economics and social and political factors encourages (?) students to make links between different areas of the curriculum and to also appreciate that there are not always single 'correct' answers to scientific problems. Attention is focussed on the discovery and development of the CFC replacement HFA-134a. The paper concludes with a report on the trialling of, and student feedback for, the case study. [Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2006, 7(4), 280-287]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-287
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry Education Research and Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Case study
  • CFC replacements
  • Environmental issues
  • Green chemistry
  • HFA-134a
  • Hydrofluoroalkanes
  • Hydrofluorocarbons
  • Ozone layer
  • Problem based learning

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