By: Caitlyn Cardetti
We had a great time showing kids and adults how to make slime this past weekend at Stony Brook University’s CommUniversity Day! We chose to do slime because… who doesn’t love slime?! It’s appropriate for essentially all ages and we thought teaching our community about polymers really unites the science of all our members – chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and (a bit of a stretch but) psychology too. Well, psychology in the sense that slime doubles really well as a stress ball, the clean up maybe not so much…
What is a polymer? A polymer is a chemical compound formed from long chains of the same molecule group – these chains repeat over and over.
So can you name off polymers you find around you everyday?
Did you know that there are a lot of awesome women who do great work with polymers? Here are a few we decided to showcase, let’s start with my favorite:
Mix 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon glue in a sandwich bag. Add food coloring if desired. Follow up with 1 tablespoon borax solution, seal bag and thoroughly mix ingredients – you will feel the texture change from liquid to slime. It will initially be sticky when you first take it out of the bag but that will go away and with time the slime will be more putty-like. Store it in the bag when not in use.
How this works: The glue has an ingredient called polyvinyl acetate (PVA), which is a liquid polymer. The borax links the PVA molecules to each other creating one big flexible polymer.