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Lockdown Bouncy Balls

We spent the morning yesterday BOUNCING these around the house after enjoying this little chemistry experiment. By using some very basic ingredients you can investigate the wonderful world of polymers (long chain and flexible molecules which are in the glue). The borate ions in the dissolved borax link the long polymer molecules together so they can't slide past each other and move like a glue. Link enough of them together and you get a very rubbery substance (which if you shape it into a ball will BOUNCE!). So basically you are changing the chemistry of the glue with just some basic chemicals in your laundry.


The balls this experiment makes are not entirely solid. Before they dry out, they are more semi-solid, or very slow flowing liquid. You will have to reshape them if they flatten slightly, and keep them in an air tight container. If they dry out totally the polymers will harden into plastic.


NOTE: Borax is toxic if ingested, so don't let anyone put the bouncy balls in their mouth.


To make your own bouncy ball you will need:

- 1 tablespoon of glue (glitter, clear or white, it doesn't matter)

- Food colouring

- 1/2 tablespoon corn flour

- 1 tablespoon Borax

- Warm water


Step 1: Mix the borax with the warm water. It will dissolve better if the water is more on the hot side, so don't let any little ones do this step


Step 2: In a separate container mix the glue, cornflour and food colouring.





Step 3: Mix half a teaspoon of the borax solution into the glue-mixture. You will need to mix it fast as it will start bonding together instantly





Step 4: Roll, roll, roll!! The bouncy ball may not look like its coming together but it will - keep on rolling and applying pressure!




Step 5: After it looks like a ball, drop it back into the Borax solution for 10-15 seconds to further harden it.


Step 6: BOUNCE!

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