Champaign Park District: Making Flubber

Published 05/14 2014 10:54AM

Updated 05/14 2014 11:07AM

This summer the Champaign Park District is offering several camps for your children.  Once camp will center on fun science projects like making flubber.   Sign up for the camps at the park district's website.

In the meantime, try making flubber with your family at home. Here are the directions;


This recipe will make individual packets of flubber.

Put 3 tablespoons of water into a cup.

Add 1 tablespoon of white Elmer's glue into a separate cup and add food coloring.

Add 2 heaping tablespoons of Borax into the cup with water.Have children mix the ingredients together.

Remove mixture from the cup and shape it into a ball.

If the mixture is too sticky, have the child roll the mixture in a little bit of Borax.Put in plastic bag with the child's name on it

The mixture of Elmer's Glue with Borax and water produces a putty-like material called a polymer.  In simplest terms, a polymer is a long chain of molecules. You can use the example of cooking spaghetti to better  understand why this polymer behaves in the way it does. When a pile of freshly cooked spaghetti comes out of the hot water and into the bowl, the strands flow like a liquid from the pan to the bowl. This is because the  spaghetti strands are slippery and slide over one another. After awhile, the water drains off of the pasta and the strands start to stick together. The spaghetti takes on a rubbery texture. Wait a little while longer for all of the water to evaporate and the pile of spaghetti turns into a solid mass -- drop it on the floor and watch it bounce. Many natural and synthetic polymers behave in a similar manner. Polymers are made out of long strands of molecules like spaghetti. If the long molecules slide past each other easily, then the substance acts like a liquid  because the molecules flow. If the molecules stick together at a few places along the strand, then the substance  behaves like a rubbery solid called an elastomer. Borax is the compound that is responsible for hooking the glue's  molecules together to form the putty-like material. Elmer's Slime is very easy to make, but it's not exactly  what you'll find at the toy store. So, what's the "real" slime secret?     polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). The cross-linking agent is still Borax, but the resulting slime is longer lasting,

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