Rayon - polymerisation

Not quite as messy as the Mystery Putty but you still have to be careful with the Ammonia solution...

Try this:

  • Dissolve copper(II) carbonate in 880 Ammonia to form a violet coloured solution.
  • Digest filter paper (preferably) or cotton wool into this solution to form a syrup.
  • Fill a syringe with the syrup and inject the syrup under water to form a string-like thread.
  • Washed in dilute sulphuric acid.

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.


  1. Try the mystery putty experiment and then find out as much as you can about the production of plastics.
  2. Can you find out about injection moulding and blow moulding?
  3. Which plastics can be recycled?

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