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As the hydrophilic polymer in the Snow Polymer Demonstration Kit (from Innovating Science) instantly absorbs water, it will expand to over 40 times its original volume. The end result is cold, fluffy flakes of fake snow!
25g Snow Polymer (enough for about 5 demonstrations)
5 stir sticks
5 clear plastic cups
Latex or nitrile gloves
Deionized or distilled water
Scale or balance
One of the simplest chemistry demonstrations ever!
Superabsorbent polymers are polymers with specific crosslinkers, that allow the molecules to quickly absorb many times their own mass of water while also expanding many times their original volume. This is accomplished through hydrogen bonding of the polymer with the water molecules in the solution.
Sodium polyacrylate is the superabsorbent polymer used in this instant snow demonstration. This type of fake snow has been used in movies, on television, and in photographs to simulate real snow.
In everyday life sodium polyacrylate is used as an absorbent in disposable diapers, mixed into potting soil, and used to quickly contain and clean up some types of spills.
When held, super absorbent polymers feel cool to the touch, due to the endothermic process of water evaporating from the polymer? This is perfect for fake snow, but not so perfect in a sleeping baby’s diaper!