For August’s Let’s Discover!, we bring you a classic science centre experiment: slime that bounces! By combining some Borax, water and white glue, you can create a slime that hardens just enough to bounce when you drop it.
To make your bouncing slime, there are four steps. First, dissolve as much Borax in water as you are able to. Borax is a used as a detergent in household laundry and cleaning products. Pour some white glue into a small disposable container, or one that you don’t mind getting gluey. Add enough Borax solution to cover your glue, and mix them together (add colourant to the glue, if you would like colour). You can start by stirring, but you will eventually need to knead the substance to finish it. If it remains gluey, add more Borax. Our directions don’t have any specific quantities, and here’s why: all of the white glue you pour should get converted into bouncing slime. You only need enough Borax solution to cover the glue, so you can choose your quantities accordingly. You can be sparing to start with.
White glue and a number of other kinds of glue are made of a chemical called PVA (polyvinyl acetate). These PVA molecules are usually long strands, but Borax (sodium borate) links them together to form sheets – this process is called crosslinking, unsurprisingly.
Once you’ve gotten to the kneading stage you ought to have a fairly stiff, wet substance which you can press (with some effort) into a ball. This stuff bounces! In fact, PVA is one of the key ingredients in super-balls. You can make your slime more or less gooey by varying the concentration of the solution of Borax (speeding up or slowing down the chemical processes), and any kind of colouring should work, too — try ink from a highlighter to glow under a black light!
You can bounce down to Discovery Centre any day of the week with your family. We’re even open late on Wednesdays, until eight o’clock in the evening. Come check out our newest exhibit, Tanked: An Atlantic Aquarium Exhibit.