When you think of slime, do you imagine slugs, snails, and puppy kisses? Or does the science fiction film The Blob come to mind? Any way you picture it, slime is definitely slippery, slithery, and just plain icky — and a perfect forum for learning real science.
But which ingredients work in making a truly slimy concoction, and why do they work? Let’s take a closer look…
Imagine a plate of spaghetti. The noodles slide around and don’t clump together, just like the long chains of molecules (called polymers) that make up slime. They slide around without getting tangled up. The pasta by itself (fresh from the boiling water) doesn’t hold together until you put the sauce on. Slime works the same way. Long, spaghetti-like chains of molecules don’t clump together until you add the sauce … until you add something to cross-link the molecule strands together.
The sodium-tetraborate-and-water mixture is the “spaghetti” (the long chain of molecules, also known as a polymer), and the “sauce” is the glue-water mixture (the cross-linking agent). You need both in order to create a slime worthy of Hollywood filmmakers.
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