Do-it-yourself "goofy putty" by steven spangler

Yield: 1 batch

Measure Ingredient
Elmer's White Glue (Do NOT substitute)
1 tablespoon Borax
Food Coloring
1 cup Water
Empty plastic soda bottle with cap
Zipper-lock bag (quart size)

Making The Borax Water: Borax is a type of powder soap that is available in most grocery stores. Add 1 tablespoon Borax powder to 1 cup of Water. Stir until most of the powder dissolves. Store the Borax Water in a jar or bottle, and label the container "BORAX & WATER MIXTURE". Remember that one cup of Borax water will make many batches of "Goofy Putty".

Preparing The Glue: Measure 1 tablespoon of Elmer's Glue into a zipper-lock bag. Add 1 teaspoon of plain water to the bag and mix.

The additional water makes the glue flow better. Add a drop of food coloring to spice up the experiment.

Making Goofy Putty: Add 1 tablespoon of Borax Water to the bag of watered-down glue. Seal the bag and squeeze for 2 minutes in order to thoroughly mix the liquids. Notice that the liquids are starting to form a putty-like substance. Remove the putty from the bag and continue to squeeze. Try to explain how and why the glue changed.

How Does It Work: The mixture of Elmer's Glue with Borax and water produces a putty-like material called a polymer. In simplest terms, a polymer is a long chain of molecules. As a model for these chains of molecules, picture in your mind strands of cooked spaghetti. If the polymer chains slide past each other easily, then the substance acts like a liquid because the molecules flow. If the molecules hook together at a few places along the strand, then the substance behaves like a rubbery solid called an elastomer. Borax is the chemical that is responsible for hooking the glue's molecules together to form the putty-like material.

There are several different methods for making this putty-like material. Some recipes call for liquid starch instead of Borax Soap.

Either way, when you make "Goofy Putty" you are learning about some of the fun an unusual properties of polymers.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WITH CHEMICALS Although these substances are not considered hazardous, you should treat all chemicals with care and wash your hands after handling. Do not taste or eat any of the materials described in these activities. Do not pour any of these experiments down the sink. Do not allow any GOOFY PUTTY to remain on clothing, upholstery, wood surfaces, or carpet. These substances may stain and damage the surface. Clean up any spill immediately.

Source: Mad Scientist 1995 Girl Scout Day Camp Submitted By ML@MMN {MBBS ASET} On 04-29-95

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