CHEM 1405 Laboratory Experiment
Polymers are long molecules that are formed through polymerization reactions which combine many smaller molecules called monomers. The polymerization reactions chemically connect the monomers in chains of varying length. For example, in this experiment, you will be using polyvinyl alcohol, which is a polymer built from vinyl alcohol, which has the chemical formula, C2H4O. The formula of polyvinyl alcohol is written (C2H4O)n.
The number of repeating monomers (“n” in the formula above) in a polymer is called the degree of polymerization. In the polymer made in this lab, n will be around 2,300.
Depending upon the monomers used, polymers can be linear, branched, and cross-linked as shown in Figure 1. As polymers become more branched or cross-linked, their properties change. More cross-linking yields a more rigid polymer is an example of such a change in properties.
Figure 1: Illustration of types of polymers
Polymers can be either natural or synthetic. Natural polymers include things like proteins, nucleic acids, silk and wool. Nylon, Teflon, plastics and Plexiglas are examples of synthetic polymers.
Good science depends upon good observations. In order to understand what is going on in an experiment, we must pay careful attention to how our chemicals behave and what changes are taking place. We quantify many things by measuring them- mass, volume, density, etc. are all things for which we record numbers and make calculations. Equally important are the qualitative observations we make- What did it look like? What did it smell like? What was its texture? Was it a solid, a liquid, or a gas?
This experiment will introduce you to the laboratory balance, the Bunsen burner and the glassware typically used in the lab. It will also give you practice in making observations.
Prior to the lab: Watch the balance, Bunsen burner and glassware videos found on eCampus.
Although these materials are relatively non-toxic, the Slime must not be ingested.
Testing the Material and Reporting the Findings
Once you have made your Slime, observe its characteristics and behavior. For this lab, you must make at least 15 observations about your product. These observations can be simple and include things like color and texture. They can also be more detailed, perhaps comparing them to the properties of solids, liquids and gases (Does your Slime have constant volume? Does it have constant shape?) or to the original materials that went into it. Observations can also include what happens when you manipulate it. For example, some common tests for materials include the following:
Note anything else about the material that might help characterize it.
Name:______________________________________Date: _________ Section:__
SLIME – Observations of a Polymer
Name:_____________________________________Date: _________ Section:__
SLIME – Observations of a Polymer
Observations and Results
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