Certain substances act like a liquid until pressure is applied, and then they appear to be solid. Others are stretchy or bounce. The scientific name for these substances is “Polymers.” How to do polymer experiments safely as a fun, homeschool experiment.
Safety and Purchasing of materials
Neon Gak Recipe
Ingredients for Gak:
- 1 cup Elmer’s glue
- neon food coloring, your choice of color (optional: coloring can stain!)
- 1 cup liquid starch
Pour glue and coloring in plastic container.
Stir until color is thoroughly mixed in.
Add starch a little at a time, stirring with a spoon or kneading with your fingers as mixture thickens.
Keep stirring until mixture holds together like putty.
Test with your fingers: if too sticky, add more starch in small amounts until mass is smooth and rubbery.
Clear Gak Recipe
Ingredients for Clear Gak:
- 1 cup Elmer’s Liquid School Glue, Clear, Washable, 1 Gallon, 1 Count – Great For Making Slime
- 1 cup liquid starch
Pour 1 cup liquid starch into plastic container with tight fitting lid, and give it a good long shaking before adding glue.
Add in the 1 cup CLEAR glue, and mix with fingers.
Keep trying to pull and stretch it as you are mixing it.
Another interesting substance is called “oobleck.” It also acts like a liquid until pressure is applied. Oobleck is gluten-free as it is made with cornstarch. This recipe also has link to natural decorating colors for those who may be sensitive to dyes.
- 2 parts cornstarch
- 1 part water
- natural food coloring with no dyes (optional, as could stain clothing and skin)
Let’s Play and Find Out About Slime
Slime is easy for kids to make and ever so fun for kids to to play with. This ooey, gooey, slippery, and slimy stuff provides a perfect opportunity to guide kids to discover new things by applying what they already know. By Janice VanCleave.
Most liquids’ viscosity changes because of temperature. But non-Newtonian fluids’ viscosity changes because of pressure. Scientists haven’t decided yet what makes oobleck behave like this.
Safety of Borax
The following recipes contain Borax, which is a toxic substance. The experiments should not be done in the kitchen nor near food or food preparation areas. Limit the time children are exposed to it, and tell them never to put it near their mouths, nor eat until their hands are washed. If they have an upset stomach or rash afterwards, push fluids, and the symptoms should go away. When interest has waned, use to kill ants somewhere away from children and pets.
Amy’s Flubber Recipe
Amy found this one that worked very well. Needs bowls.
- 1 1/2 cups very warm water
- 2 cups Elmer’s glue
- food coloring (optional, as could stain clothing and skin)
In a separate bowl, mix thoroughly:
- 1 1/3 cups very warm water
- 2 level teaspoons Borax
Glorax (Flubber) Recipe
- Put 3 T. of water into a ziploc bag.
- Add 1 T. of white glue.
- Add 2 heaping T. of Borax (laundry detergent). It must be Borax.*
Silly Putty Recipe
This will bounce and pick up pictures from the paper just like the name-brand stuff.
- Add: 1/2 cup water to 1/2 cup Elmer’s glue (Not School Glue!)
- Mix and add 3 drops of food coloring (optional)
- Make Borax solution: Take 2 tablespoons borax (You can buy this at a grocery store or online) and add to 1 cup of water and stir.
- Add 1/2 cup of Borax solution to water and glue mixture
- Stir and store in a plastic bag
Mix well. Add food coloring if you wish. Let it dry about an hour. When ready, it will be smooth and rubber-like. Store in an airtight container.
Bouncy Polymer Chemistry
In this experiment you will make your own homemade silly putty. By varying the ratio of ingredients and by observing physical properties, you can determine the best recipe for the putty.
Silly Putty for Potholes
“So we were putzing around with different ideas and things we wanted to work with-and we were like, what’s a common, everyday problem all around the world that everybody hates?” explains 21-year-old team member Curtis Obert. “And we landed on potholes.” He and four other students decided on a non-Newtonian fluid as a solution because of its unusual physical properties. “When there’s no force being applied to it, it flows like a liquid does and fills in the holes,” says Obert, “but when it gets run over, it acts like a solid.”
Where to get starch
Thank you for your interest in our Faultless Starch products. You may purchase our products online at www.agelong.com/ or by calling toll free to 1-800-892-8022. If you provide your address we will forward an Agelong Catalog.
We have a new Faultless Liquid Starch that is available at K-Mart. You may wish to call ahead to speak with the manager. If it is not on the shelf they can order it in for you. This product will work great for many craft projects.
Again, thank you for you interest in our products.
Note on where to get Borax
The Dial Corporation acquired the consumer products division of U.S. Borax in 1989 and can instruct you where to buy Borax in your area. Look under “Laundry Care” for “20 Mule Team Borax” and add your zip code. Their phone number is (800) 457-8739, or please visit the 20 Mule Team Laundry web site at20muleteamlaundry.com.
Borax is also available on Amazon.com.