Polymerization of Glue and Borax

In the early 1940s, researchers discovered boric acid reacting with silicone oil produced an unusual material. The bouncy material stretched farther than regular rubber. No practical use was found, though the material became popular worldwide and was later sold as a toy - Silly Putty.

In this experiment, we create a slimy, putty polymer with water, glue, and Borax.



- Borax
- Glue
- Mixing Bowl
- 1 Cup of Water

Pour the cup of water into the bowl with the entire bottle of glue (118mL) and stir.



Add 2 tbsp (30g) Borax to one quarter cup (60mL) water and stir until the Borax is dissolved.



Add the dissolved Borax to the bowl of water and glue. Stir. The slimy putty is forming.



Food coloring gives it a unique look.





The result can be stored in an air-tight container.



How it works: Glue contains long chains of molecules (polymers). When borax is in water, the borate ion is formed and links the glue molecule chains together. The Borax hooks the glue molecules together, resulting in a slimy putty.



20 hours after the experiment, the putty has become light blue and easy to handle.