Multi-colored slime can be created using a solution of poly-vinyl alcohol (PVA) and borax. This experiment demonstrates the ability of borax to form chemical cross-links between molecules of the PVA polymer. The chemical structures below show a molecule of the PVA polymer on the left and a molecule of borax (borate ion) on the right.
When these molecules are mixed together, hydrogen bonds are formed between the hydroxyl groups of both the PVA and borate ion. This "sticks" them together and creates the slimy texture to the mixture.
Slime is a non-Newtonian fluid that dilate, or expand, under stress. Similar substances with these properties include quicksand, starch solutions and Silly Putty. Dilatant materials tend to have some unusual properties.
If you slowly pull on the material, it will flow and stretch. If you are very careful, you can form a thin film. But if you pull sharply (inducing high stress), the material will break. If you pour the material from its container and tip the container slightly upwards, the gel will siphon itself.
Wear eye protection and latex gloves when handling slime.
Disposal of Waste Products
All waste products may be safely disposed of in the garbage.
Department of Chemistry
Tennessee Technological University
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