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Science of Slime An investigation into the physical properties of cross-linked

By Eric Bowerman

Abstract

Many high school chemistry students get the chance to experience a polymer-based lab in school, and sometimes it comes near the end of the year as a “fun lab. ” Various laboratory exercises I have seen and used in the past involve making such materials as gluep, gak, or slime, and often use generic household materials. In this experiment, students will be utilizing what I have seen called the “commercial ” or “institutional” slime. This lab activity utilizes poly (vinyl alcohol), PVA, and a borax solution to process the slime. The sheer size of the PVA molecules (average molecular weight can surpass 100,000 grams per mole) provides students with a real-world example of how large organic molecules can become. Handling the viscous slime, along with seeing the figure of cross-linking in the handout, further illustrates how large and cumbersome some organic molecules are. Finally, leaving flexibility for students to schedule their own concentrations for the final two trials, as well as leaving the data and observations space blank on the handout, allows students to take greater control of their research. As this lab is best suited for the end of the year, during discussion of polymers, students should be familiar with designing and adapting procedures and with proper data recording techniques

Topics: Key Idea 3.2c
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.180.6466
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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