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Product 12635

By: Walter Rohr, Retired, Eastchester High School, Eastchester, NY

The Super Duper Polymer Gel Chemistry Demonstration Kit is a cool activity. A long-chain polymer is used. The length of 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.

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Product Details

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. The chemical used is polyethylene oxide, a nontoxic, 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.

Concepts: Polymers, viscosity.
Time Required: 10 minutes
Chemical Provided: Polyethylene oxide, 25 grams.
Note: Ethanol or methanol (25 mL per demo) and water are required and available separately.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Engaging in argument from evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS2.B: Types of Interactions

Crosscutting Concepts

Energy and matter
Structure and function
Stability and change

Performance Expectations

MS-PS1-1. Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
MS-PS1-3. Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
HS-PS1-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles.
HS-PS2-6. Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials.