Clear Slime Polymer - Experiment 20

Many of the materials we use every day, like starch, are made up of molecules called POLYMERS. POLY means “many” and MER means “unit”. Because the units of chains are so long, the movement of polymers is restricted. Viscosity is a physical property of liquids that describes their rate of flow.

Materials Substitutions
2.46g sodium borate 1 tsp. Borax
0 .63 g guar gum (1/4 tsp.)
200 mL water 5/6 cup of water
100 mL graduated cylinder measuring cup
2 – 250 mL beakers 2 – 9oz plastic cups
2 stirring rods 2 spoons
balance
paper towels
food coloring
4-5 zip-lock bags (1 per person)

Procedure

  1. Pour 100 mL of water into a beaker.
  2. Add the sodium borate to the water and stir for approximately one minute or until the solid is completely dissolved.
  3. Label the solution.
  4. Pour 80 mL of water into the other beaker
  5. Add guar gum to the water while stirring. Continue stirring until the solid is completely dissolved (approximately one minute).
  6. Label the solution.
  7. Add food coloring of your choice to guar gum solution and stir for one minute.
  8. Add 5 mL of the sodium borate solution to the guar gum solution. Stir for 1 minute, and then let it sit for 2 minutes.

Extensions

  1. Challenge students to modify the basic recipe and demonstrate each resulting product. Can they create a slime that is stretchy or one that bounces?
  2. Extend the activity into other disciplines by having each team name their new product and create a marketing strategy, including packaging, cost analysis, and advertising.
  3. Try the other non-Newtonian fluids in this lab manual! This recipe was adapted from a Flinn Scientific publication and an issue of the NSTA Science Scope magazine.

Teacher’s Notes
The secret to this colloidal suspension is the Guar Gum. It is not available through common sources and must be ordered through a chemical company.

Disposal
This slime can be stored in a Ziploc™ bag so students can take it with them. Its unsual properties will diminish over time as it dries out.