Things you need:
· Wide mouth jar
· White pipe cleaner
· Blue food coloring (optional)
· Boiling water
· Borax Laundry Booster (not Boric Acid!)
Please have adult supervision when performing this experiment. Twist three pieces of pipe cleaner together in the center to make a six-armed snowflake base. Make sure that your snow flake fits easily into the jar. You can attach string along the outer edges to form your snowflake pattern. Attach a long piece of string to the top of one of the pipe cleaners and tie the other end to the pencil. Make sure the string is long enough to let the snowflake hang into the jar, but not so long that the snowflake is touching the bottom of the jar. Before hanging your snowflake, fill the jar with boiling water (please have an adult help you). Mix borax into the water, one tablespoon at a time. Use three tablespoons of borax per one cup of water. Stir until the borax is dissolved. Do not worry if some powder remains on the bottom of the jar. If you like to tint your snow flake, add a little food coloring to the water. Hand your pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar so that the pencil rests on the lip of the jar and the snowflake is freely suspended in the solution. Wait overnight and check your snowflake the next day. What do you see?
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How does it work?
You create a saturated solution of Borax because the hot water holds more borax crystals than cold water. The heated water molecules move farther apart, making room for more of the borax crystals to dissolve. When no more of the solution can be dissolved, you have reached saturation. As this solution cools, the water molecules move closer together again. Now there's less room for the solution to hold onto as much of the dissolved borax. Crystals begin to form and build on the pipe cleaner as the borax comes out of the solution.
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