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Gluep – Science Experiment

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Gluep is a type of polymer; polymers are molecules with long chains of repeating units (called monomers) – much like a chain of paper clips. A glue solution contains millions of individual chains of polymer called polyvinyl acetate, often used in latex paint. These chains are able to slip and slide freely over one another like strands of freshly cooked spaghetti. When borax solution is added to the glue, the polymer chains become linked together – just as rungs link the two sides of a ladder. This process is cross linking. After the polymer becomes cross linked, the individual polymer chains are no longer able to slip and slide; in this process the liquid glue solution becomes the semisolid Gluep. How goopy, or slimy the Gluep becomes depends on how much water is mixed with the glue. One experiment uses 1/2 glue mixed with 1/2 water. Borax solution is merely saturated.

Materials per 8-10 students:

1/2 cup glue (Elmers)
1/4 cup borax water (see directions below)
measuring cup
plastic spoons or stirring sticks
measuring spoons
small ziploc bags
food coloring (optional)

Getting ready:

1. Prepare a glue-water mixture by thoroughly mixing 1/2 of glue to 1/2 cup of water.
2. Prepare a borax solution by stirring 1/4 cup of borax into 4 cups water. It is not necessary for powder to be completely dissolved.

Procedure:

1. Pour 2 TBLS of glue-water mixture into a small ziploc bag. Add coloring, seal and shake bag to mix.
2. Pour 2 tsp of borax solution into the bag with the glue, seal the bag, and knead the bag for one minute. The mixture will become thick.
3. Once the Gluep has formed, remove it and knead it until semisolid and the borax solution is well mixed into the gluep. The gluep can be stored in the ziploc bag for several days.
4. Wash your hands when finished.

Glue and borax are considered safe chemicals. Some people may be allergic to these chemicals. If the skin becomes red or stings, wash your hands and stop handling the gluep.

Gluep instructions provided by Don Spicer.

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