Flubber (material)

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Flubber polymer with green food coloring added. The polymer is normally colorless.

Flubber (named from the film The Absent-Minded Professor), Gluep, Glurch, Silly Putty, or Slime are common names referring to a rubbery polymer formed by cross-linking of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) with a boron compound. Flubber can be made from polyvinyl-acetate-based adhesives, such as Elmer's Glue, and borax as an elementary science education experiment.[1]

Reaction[edit]

The gelation process entails formation of a borate ester that crosslinks the chains of the PVA.[2] Borate esters form readily by condensation of hydroxyl groups and the B-OH groups.[3]

Structure for borate ester that comprises crosslinking in "slime".

Properties[edit]

Flubber is a non-Newtonian fluid that flows under low stress, but breaks under higher stresses and pressures. This combination of fluid-like and solid-like properties makes it a Maxwell solid. Its behavior can also be described as being viscoplastic or gelatinous.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parratore, Phil. Wacky Science: A Cookbook for Elementary Teachers. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt. p. 26. ISBN 0-7872-2741-2. 
  2. ^ Cassassa, E. Z.; A. M. Sarquis, C.H Van Dyke (January 1986). "The Gelation of Polyvinyl Alcohol with Borax". Journal of Chemical Education 63 (1): 57. doi:10.1021/ed063p57. 
  3. ^ Katoa, Y.; K. Suwaa; S. Yokoyamab; T. Yabeb; H. Ikutaa; Y. Uchimotoa; M. Wakihara (December 2002). "Thermally stable solid polymer electrolyte containing borate ester groups for lithium secondary battery". Solid State Ionics. 152-153: 155–159. doi:10.1016/s0167-2738(02)00370-3.