Squishy stuff relieves stress and those who got a lot of it tend to stay happier and better contended. Many people think slime is only for kids, however, slime can work for all ages with it’s flexible and gentle nature.
What is slime?
Slime was first introduced in February of 1976 as a toy product. It was manufactured by Mattel and they used to sell slime in plastic trash cans. Since it was particularly made for children as a toy it was made nontoxic, squishy, and in a variety of colors with an oozy texture. It is primarily made from guar gum to give that gummy appearance.
A variety of types of slime were released after 1976. Different rubber insects containing slime and slime with eyeballs and worms were the most favorite for kids during the Halloween season. However, in the late 1970s, the slime monster board game was introduced. Many other toy companies also came up with innovative ideas with slime toys because the substance is very harmless and lovely to play with.
Is slime a solid or a liquid?
It is hard to decide between these two states when you are talking about slime. When you try judging it by placing it on your hand and let it sit there, the slime will ooze between your fingers as if it is about to drop out. However, if you try compressing your slime or squeeze it so hard in your hand then it becomes thick and solid making you unable to compress it more.
Confused? Here some science and chemistry jump in. Slime is made up of colloidal solution which means it has cornstarch tiny particles perfectly suspended in the water. However, it is not mixed like salt when you dissolve salt in water. Unlike almost every other regular solution around it, colloids behave a little differently.
Practically, if you bang on to any salt-water surface, you’ll experience water splashes coming back to you as a result of all the force you have applied, however, if you apply force in the surface of slime by slapping or hitting, it won’t splash this the water will make you feel as it’s hard.
Colloidal substances have a different graph where the higher force you apply on a colloidal solution the thicker and harder it will become. This makes slime a non-newtonian which indicates that if the force applied is changed, there will be a change in the viscosity, resistance, and resistance.
This is exactly why you get unable to come out of quicksand because as hard you try, it keeps on getting more stiff and hard. Moreover, the slime gets harder when pressed because it experiences a cross-linking process when you apply force. However, when there is no external force, the particles inside the slime will coil up. The coiled up particles find it easy to slide over each other which then gives a liquidy texture.
How to make slime?
You need a few things to make your favorite quick toy yourself with this DIY recipe. All you need for this DIY is a container that can store the slime you are making, polyvinyl acetate or PVA glue or you can use Elmer’s glue as well, some hot water, a stirrer or plastic spoon, some borax powder, some measuring tools like a measuring spoon and also a measuring cup for bigger measurements.
No, the list doesn’t end here, you also goggles for the safety of your eyes as handling borax can irritate the eyes, a spacious workspace where you can spill any ingredient without worrying much about it, your favorite color food dye, or any market if you want to add some color and a zipper to put your slime aside for playing later when you are done.
Before you start the preparation, you must take some precautions by protecting your workspace and clothing. You must realize the fact that slime is very sticky and can be very hard to remove off any surface. As soon as you bring a borax solution in use, put on your goggles or glasses to prevent your eyes from getting irritated.
Make sure that you make a borax solution by adding lukewarm water in your powder borax and then label the container, for example, 2% borax solution before putting it aside. Now you may start the procedure by pouring a half cup of glue and a quarter cup of lukewarm water in one bowl or container. You must know that the solution you have made is 67% glue.
Now if you like vibrant colors and prefer having a colorful slime then mix only a few drops of food coloring into the mixture. However, there is another way of adding color to your Slime and that is by putting a marker tip in the water until the ink dissolves and gives water the color.
Now once you have added the color to the glue stir this mixture with the stirring rod. When you have mixed the color properly add 5 tablespoons of borax solution that you have made to your water and glue mixture. However, if you find out that the substance is still not sticky and thick then you may add some more borax solution until the watery structure goes away.
Once you have reached the desired consistency you can start kneading it like flour. Squeezing your slime can make you feel it like a solid, however, if you let it rest on your palm then it will drip away like a liquid. The mystery of slime can only be resolved if you look deeper into its chemistry.
The chemistry behind slime
The chemistry of slime involves polymers. What are polymers? Well, you link the prefix poly with many, however, the mer is usually used for the parts. When there’s a long chain of and molecules, it will be a polymer. For example, DNA is a polymer, and silk or wool is also an example of a polymer.
The polymer that is abundantly used in the making of slime is the PVA glue which is made with numerous chains of polyvinyl acetate molecules. The flow in the glue is present because the chains present inside the glue slide off each other easily.
Why is activator added in slime? You can use various activators, whether it is borax, laudatory detergent, or your remaining contact lens solution, all of these proceed with almost the same basic reaction no matter what. If you decide to add borax to the mixture, then it contains borate ions which will help the polymer to form cross-links.
When the cross-linking occurs, it gets harder for the slime molecules to move as easily as they were in the first place. The cross-linking gives a thick and dense slime appearance.
More interesting slime facts
- The largest slime ever made was by Maddie Rae. She’s a 12-year Guinness Record holder who made six ton slime. That’s a lot of slime if you ask us. Till date, no one has been able to replicate her feat, but anything can happen in the future.
- Slime might have found the spotlight recently, but it dates back to the 1920s. In those years, Hermann Staudinger discovered new things in the field of polymer science (if you’re still unaware, slime is a form of polymer). He revealed that this phenomenon’s structure consisted of “repeating, chain-like” molecules, and that’s what slime’s structure is known as today.
- Slime first started trending in the 1950s courtesy of a non-Newtonian liquid that was like slime but different in composition. People could bounce it as if were a ball and break it if they applied too much force. It could even flow like liquid. Then in 1967, one of the first toys titled “slime” was introduced in a rubbish bin. But it was the 1980 when slime really took off and became a stalwart on kids tv. Channels like Nickelodeon started inviting guests who they could slime (slime’s most popular color is green, but today it’s available in a variety of colors and type).
- There is something called the fear of slime (Blennophobia).
Slime is a healthy and nontoxic toy for every kid and it provides a soothing and calm feeling when it’s held in hand. It is hard to figure out what state it belongs to for an average 5-year-old, however, it’s good if you want to demonstrate the examples of colloidal solutions to your kids. However, if as an adult you decide to play with slime, then it is not a bad idea as well.