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Molecules for Burning and a Million Other Things

Accession number: 



Directors of Photography:


Production Years: 
1967 to 1968


Film Properties: 
Length (feet): 
1018 (16mm)
Length (minutes): 
Holding Institutions: 

Library and Archives Canada: 16mm.
"Focusses on the development of crude petroleum, through refining and scientific research, into useful products for society. Featuring Imperial Oil - the sponsor of the film - the process is explained by a chemistry professor, George F. Wright, Everett McCrimmon who instructs a group of school children during the film, and W. O. Twaits president of Imperial Oil. The instructor discusses the origins, discovery and early history of oil and, later, petroleum products found in the children's daily lives. Professor Wright briefly explains the distillation process - adding that a complete separation of the various products in petroleum has never been achieved. He discusses scientific research and how new substances are developed from simpler forms using the example of the molecular manipulation of ethylene to produce polyethylene. W. O. Twaits expands on the idea of research dividing it into two categories: fundamental - the nature of things, molecules and materials, and applied - application, use and how it can be sold. He discusses the social scientist and others studying the market to discover demands for certain products. The children name products found in everyday life that are produced from petroleum mentioning vinly floor tiles, grips for bikes, film, paint and others. The film concludes with predictions that the children of 20 years into the future will speak of petroleum products used to change deserts into farmland, produce fabrics that grow warmer as the weather turns colder or change colour in sunlight, and products capable of changing the weather itself."