Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sodium Silicate Polymer Lab

For our latest lab, we made a polymer out of 12 mL sodium silicate and ethyl alcohol and 3 mL. First, you measure 12 mL of sodium silicate and 3 mL of ethyl alcohol seperately. Next, you combine them in a small beaker. We then stirred the substance in a circular motion until it became a solid. Next, we placed the polymer in our hand and rolled it into a ball while running it under a small stream of water from the faucet to moisten the substance. I thought that the two substances, when combined, would create a polymer. I was correct. I also thought that when we bounced the ball at room temperature and after being refrigerated, the room temperature ball would bounce significantly higher. I was correct again. We then tried bouncing the “ball” from 30 cm at room temperature and after being refrigerated for 15-20 minutes. When we bounced it at room temperature, its average height was 17 or 18 cm, while when we bounced it after being refrigerated it only bounced to a height of about 12 or 13 cm.

Similar characteristics between the polymer we made today and the one we made on Tuesday (using white glue, borax and water) are they were both bouncy, white, mutable, and had lower rebound heights when refrigerated. Differences include texture, one was not as bouncy, and today’s was cloudier than Tuesday’s substance.

Like carbon, silicon can create molecules that are sufficiently large. Although, carbon lacks the ability to form chemical bonds. Similar properties between silicone polymer and plastics are texture and what they can be used for. Some even believe silicone polymers will partially replace plastics.

I knew that a chemical reaction had taken place when the two liquids were mixed because they formed a solid substance that was cloudy, and did not resemble any characteristics of a liquid.

Water molecules are the byproduct of the mass of crumbled solid as I formed the ball. I knew this because my hands got very wet, more wet than how much water I moistened it with.

When compared to Table 8’s substance, they both had very similar physical characteristics, but were very different in the form of the rebound tests and size. Table 8’s ball bounced to a height of 15 cm at room temperature, while ours bounced to 19 cm. After being refrigerated, Table 8’s ball bounced to about 11 cm, while ours bounced to 15 cm. Also, their ball was quite a bit bigger than ours, because we were unable to remove all of the contents of our beaker and apply them to our ball.

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