Chemistry Lab Reports No Fatalities


The chem labs we did dealt with real life experiences. We didn't get to melt anything down, but maybe next year. The lab was well organized and there were no fatalities, which is always good. Overall the lab was fun and interesting. I've put in another experiment you too can do at home.

WARNING - The following lab has not been tested in the DO-IT kitchens. Experiment at your own risk.

Get a bottle of Elmer's glue, either the plain white kind or the Elmer's School Glue. You will also need about 1 tsp 20-Mule Team Borax. It is unfortunate that it's only sold in enormous boxes, but it's cheap.

Put about 1/4 cup of glue into a small bowl and add 1/4 cup water. Stir until smooth. In another bowl, dissolve 1 tsp borax in 1/4 cup water--stir it around until there are no crystals left. You can use your fingers to feel. Start stirring the glue solution around with your hand or a spoon, and add a spoonful of the borax solution. Keep stirring and adding borax solution until the interesting change in physical properties seems to be over.

Glue is a suspension of milk proteins, mostly casein, in water. If you're interested, I have a recipe for making glue from milk. The borax is sodium tetraborate decahydrate; it's the same chemical that the DO-IT students used to make the polyvinyl alcohol congeal into slime. Borax can make 3 bonds to different molecules of casein, and this holds them in a network with bizarre physical behavior.

If you change the proportions of glue, water, and borax, you alter the properties of the resulting glubleck.

I'm told that adding talc (talcum powder) produces a new touch sensation, but I haven't tried it myself.