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Create Fluorescent Slime Using Polyvinyl Alcohol Chemistry

Create Fluorescent Slime Using Polyvinyl Alcohol Chemistry

Explore the structure and properties of polymers along with the concepts of chemical reactions and cross-linking by creating FLUORESCENT SLIME with this fun and educational Innovating Science activity kit! This fun demonstration is perfect for the classroom, science lab, or as a distance learning activity. A black light activated pigment is included to make this polymer activity easy and memorable for scientists of all ages!

Activity Kit Includes:
  • 100mL Sodium Borate, 4% Solution
  • 500mL Polyvinyl Alcohol, 3% Solution
  • 5mL Fluorescent Pink Pigment Mixture
  • Instructions and Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Also required:

What are Polymers?

A polymer is a molecule made from the joining of many smaller molecules called monomers. The chemical reaction that joins the monomers together is called polymerization. Some polymers are natural while others are synthetic. Polymers can also be classified as homopolymers (all repeating units are identical) or heteropolymer (not all of the repeating units are the same).

About the polymer polyvinyl alcohol

Polyvinyl Alcohol is a synthetic homopolymer consisting of one single repeating unit, vinyl alcohol. When sodium borate is added to the polyvinyl alcohol the sodium borate dissolves to form boric acid and the boric acid then cross-links the polyvinyl alcohol chains. Cross-linking is a process in which the long polymer chains are linked to one another at various points along each chain. As more cross-linking occurs, the thicker the mixture becomes thicker.

Polyvinyl alcohol in real life:
Polyvinyl alcohol is commonly used as a thickener in items such as latex paint, shampoo, and various glues. As it dries, polyvinyl alcohol also has some adhesive properties that we can take advantage of. If laid out in a thin layer and allowed to dry, polyvinyl alcohol forms a film that can be used in packaging with one interesting characteristic - it will dissolve in water.

You have likely experienced this phenomenon with popular “magic capsule” toys as well as detergent pods.

Making slime using Polyvinyl alcohol and sodium borate:

1. Pour 100ml 3% polyvinyl alcohol into a 250ml beaker (or similar).

2. Add 4-5 drops of fluorescent pink pigment to the polyvinyl alcohol and stir to mix. This step is simply to add color and a way to observe the chemical reaction that is about to happen.

3. Add about 5ml of 4% sodium borate. Slowly add the sodium borate 1-2 ml at a time (with the transfer pipette) to the beaker containing the polyvinyl alcohol while stirring. After all 5ml of sodium borate has been added, continue stirring for another 1-2 minutes.

4. Observe the consistency of the slime. Continue adding, in 1ml increments, more sodium borate until the slime reaches the desired consistency. Be sure to stir for 1-2 minutes after each addition of sodium borate.

5. Hit the lights and see your slime GLOW thanks to the fluorescent pigment you added in step #2.

You be the inventor:
Describe a packaging solution or other product that could take advantage of the fluorescent pink slime just created by mixing polyvinyl alcohol and sodium borate?
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