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Weird Science

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- Halloween is just around the corner and Dr.V has a GREAT experiment that is perfect for that slime center piece you need for you Halloween party.

Dr. V Show: SLIME!

October 12, 2010

 

Things you need:

  • Borax (detergent enhancer)
  • Cups to mix in
  • Elmer's glue (white or gel)
  • Food coloring
  • Water

 

The experiment:

Stir 1 tablespoon of borax into ½ a cup of warm water. It's okay if some borax remains undissolved. This will give you a saturated solution. Allow the solution to cool to room temperature. In a separate cup, stir ½ cup of glue ½ cup of water. The white glue will give you opaque slime; glue gel will give you translucent slime, good for putting spiders and creepy crawlies in it. Empty the bottle of glue into your bowl and then fill the glue container with some water, shake, and add this to your glue. Stir your glue to mix the water in. What is the consistency of the glue? If you'd like, mix a couple of drops of food coloring into the glue mixture. Now slowly add some Borax solution to your glue solution, and keep mixing. You'll see the solution turn from a liquid into a soft squishy slime. Keep your slime in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator when you're not playing with it, or it will get really gross with fuzzy mold!

 

How does it work?

The glue molecules are long chains that aren't connected to each other, so they slip and slide. That's why you can squeeze the glue out of the glue container.  The borax is the "connector" for the glue (polyvinyl acetate) molecules. Once the glue molecules join together to form even larger molecules called polymers, you get slime. You can use the example of cooking spaghetti to better understand why this polymer behaves in the way it does. When a pile of freshly cooked spaghetti comes out of the hot water and into the bowl, the strands flow like a liquid from the pan to the bowl. This is because the spaghetti strands are slippery and slide over one another. When all of the water evaporates, the spaghetti starts to stick to each other, eventually turning into a solid mass. Polymers are made out of long strands of molecules like spaghetti. If the long molecules slide past each other easily, then the substance acts like a liquid because the molecules flow. If the molecules stick together at a few places along the strand, then the substance behaves like a rubbery solid called an elastomer. Borax is the compound responsible for hooking the glue's molecules together to form the slime.

 

Tips

Do not eat the slime, it's not toxic, but it's not good for you either!

Remember to wash your hands before and after playing with your slime.

Please throw your slime away in the trash, not down the sink.

 

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