Mystery Putty - polymerisation
Joke: What do you get if you
cross a monomer with a monomer? Give up? YOU GET A POLYMER! (I
know; I need to get out more...)
Chemists don't always make the funniest jokes, but
they can join up a whole bunch of small molecules (monomers) and form
long chains (polymers).
What happens when polymers get tangled up?
You'll find out with PVA and Borax...
Warning! to teachers and
parents! You may need to lay down some newspaper for this one, it can
get sticky and messy!
RECIPE #1: Mix
one film canister of white glue (add food colour if desired) to one
film canister of water then mix well. Then add one film canister of a
saturated solution of borax. You can pre-mix the glue with equal parts
of water and then add two canisters of the diluted and colored glue
before adding the borax.
RECIPE #2: A
simpler alternative is to pour some white PVA glue into 1/2 a cup of 4%
Borax solution. Slowly stir the PVA into the borax until you
can pick it up with your fingers. Wash the putty in a fresh volume of
Borax until the putty is as firm as you wish.
The result is a bouncing rubber ball!
You have just carried out a polymerisation
reaction, the idea behind the production of plastics and rayon.
Many small molecules (monomers) join up as
long chains (polymers) that get tangled up to produce a solid substance.
FIND OUT MORE:-
- Try the rayon
experiment and then find out as much as you can about the production of
- Can you find out about injection moulding and
- Which plastics can be recycled?
- The interactive pages...identify these pieces of lab
- The interactive pages...weird metals and gases hide
in this Periodic Table
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