For Kids

Science Experiment: Polymers - Borax Goo

01/01/2019

Sir Isaac Newton is famous for figuring out certain rules that apply to things on earth. One of his rules is that matter can take three forms: solid, liquid and gas. Liquids flow and take the shape of the container they are in. You can see that happen when you pour a glass of water.

Usually matter turns into a liquid when it is heated and when liquid is heated it “gets runnier.” How easily a liquid flows is called viscosity. Water has a low viscosity and flows fast. Honey has a high viscosity and flows slowly. If you heat honey or lava…it flows faster. That is one of Sir Isaac’s rules too…that the viscosity of liquids goes up as the liquid is heated. Mix up this borax Goo and see how it behaves. Is it a liquid or is it a solid?

What You Need:

• White Glue
• Borax (In the Laundry Detergent Aisle)
• Water
• Bowl
• Ziploc Bag
• Measuring Cups
• Spoon
• Cookie Sheet
• Food Coloring (Optional)

Borax is a laundry detergent booster. You can find borax in the laundry room at home or in the laundry detergent section at the grocery store. Measure 1 cup water into an empty bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of Borax to the water and stir until the Borax is dissolved. Now put 1/2 cup white glue in a ziploc bag and add 1 cup water. Seal the bag and squish to mix the glue and water. Now add the water/Borax mixture to the ziploc bag. Reseal the bag and squish it some more. After you mix it for awhile empty the ziploc bag out onto the cookie sheet and mix it with your hands. Borax Goo is like Cornstarch Goo - it's a non-Newtonian fluid. That means that sometimes it acts like a liquid and sometimes it acts like a solid.

The Borax Goo seems like a liquid because it flows off your fingers and it takes the shape of the container you put it in. But when you squeeze the Borax Goo…it turns into a solid. So which is it? A liquid or a solid? It's a non-Newtonian fluid because it doesn’t behave by Sir Isaac Newton’s rules!

Borax Goo is also a polymer. That means it’s molecules are arranged in a long chain. When the chain of molecules stretches…like the goo flowing off the fingers in this photo, the goo behaves like a liquid and flows. As soon as the Gak/Flubber/Gluep has pressure applied to it - like when you squeeze it in your fist or when you rest your hand on it in the tray, it behaves like a solid and feels stiff and strong.

Science Project Idea: Get three bowls and measure 1 cup of a powdered substance into each bowl. 1 cup of borax in bowl #1, 1 cup of baking soda in bowl #2 and 1 cup of flour in bowl #3. If you step back and look at the bowls they will all look pretty much the same - a bowl with white powder in it. Now pour 1/2 cup of water into each bowl and mix each bowl with your fingers. Do the mixtures behave the same? How do they behave differently? How would you describe each mixture? A solid or a liquid? You could also try baking soda and powdered sugar and cornstarch.

Websites, Activities & Printables:

Science in Context: Polymer and Non-Newtonian Fluid is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Login using your IndyPL library card number. The Science in Context database will show you articles, images and videos to help you learn about polymers and non-Newtonian fluids.

You can also ask a math and science expert for homework help by calling the Ask Rose Homework Hotline. They provide FREE math and science homework help to Indiana students in grades 6-12.

Books:

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