When a small amount of a white powder is sprinkled into a liquid and water is added, it transforms into a thick, viscous gel. When poured back and forth between two beakers, the gel begins to take on a life of its own and literally defies gravity by crawling up and out of the beaker.
This is a very cool demonstration! The chemical used is polyethylene oxide, a non-toxic, long-chain, water-soluble polymer. The length of all the polymer chains in one drop of gel is 1,700,000 miles long-long enough to go back and forth to the moon 7.5 times. This is fascinating stuff. Both you and your students will really enjoy this activity. Teacher Demonstration Notes included. Enough materials are included to perform this demonstration seven times.
Concepts: Polymers, viscosity.
Time Required: 10 minutes
Chemical Provided: Polyethylene oxide, 25 grams.
Note: Ethanol or methanol (25 mL per demo) and water are needed but not provided.
Super Duper Polymer Gel Video
Hydrogen bonding creates a polymer that will climb out and over the sides of a beaker.
Flinn Catalog/Reference Manual Page 371
Flinn Middle School Catalog/Reference Manual Page 472
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