Two clear liquids are combined and stirred. Within seconds, a gelatinous forms, and coalesces on the stirring stick. After a few minutes, the entire liquid has turned to .... SLIME!
This is what happens when a solution of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) and a solution of a Sodium Metaborate (Borax) are mixed together. Polyvinyl Alcohol is a repeating chain or polymer of the Vinyl Alcohol unit:
When the PVA is dissolved in water, the vinyl alcohol units link up to form chains of about 2,000 units! This results in a thick, syrupy appearance to the solution. When the borax is added to the PVA solution, the chains of PVA cross - link to form a viscoelastic gel. The cross linking is weak, so the links continually form and break under the weight of the gel, or with handling. Leave a ball of the slime on a flat surface, reconnect. But if you pull suddenly on the material it snaps.
Both the Borax and Poly Vinyl Alcohol are sold in solutions for your convince. These can be purchased in our online store. Click this link:
Doing the experiment:
Pour 50 mL of the PVA solution into a plastic container. While stirring dispense 5mL of the borax solution into the container. The solution will turn into slime. For fun add food coloring. The slime will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. The slime will wash out of most clothing with detergent and warm water, but care should be taken to avoid the need to do so.