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In the “Gags” menu, you’ll find plenty of pranks and gross experiments to make at home. You’ll find everything from making fake poo to rubber chicken legs. Hope you like it!
Hello, and welcome. If you’re bored and want something to do, or even if you’re a science wiz and already know your stuff, Sci-Borg Projects promotes education and fun. For a while, I’ve been collecting hundreds, if not thousands, of science experiments that anybody can perform. However, if you’re not an adult, I highly recommend adult supervision or asking permission from an adult in order to do the projects on this site. Frequently, I’ll post up some fun experiments, including how to make slime, cosmic ray detectors, home-made plastic, caramel squiggle treats, smoke bombs, stink bombs, crystal gardens, x-ray specs, magic water, and much, much more. So if you think science is too boring for you, think again. You’re about to venture into the world of science. Are you ready?
Here, you’ll find everything you need to get started on some slimy experiments!
To understand slime, we first have to understand viscosity, which can be defined as how much a liquid can resist flow. For example, maple syrup and honey are highly viscous, because they flow much more slowly than substances like water or soda pop. In this book, you will experiment with slimes of differing viscosities, from runny mucus-like slime, to gelatinous substances that hold together well, like bouncy balls.
The poise (labeled as “p”) is the official unit for viscosity, but many scientific instruments that determine a fluid’s thickness measure in centipoise (cps). For example, water is 1 to 5 cps at 21°C (70°F). Because of this small number, you might think water is the least viscous of all liquids, but acetone—which is found in nail polish remover—is a good example of a substance with an even higher rate of flow than water. Acetone is 0.3 cps at 21°C (70°F). Tomato paste and peanut butter have much higher viscosities: 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 cps at 21°C (70°F).
To further understand how viscosity relates to slime, it is best to examine the theories formulated by one of history’s greatest scientists: Sir Isaac Newton. He is said to have been one of the most influential thinkers of all time, since he is famous for having developed numerous concepts in the fields of mathematics and physics, such as calculus and his theories on gravitation. Isaac Newton also experimented with a common liquid called dihydrogen monoxide—or water.
He observed that water—like many other liquids—has a constant flow, or viscosity, and that water’s rate of flow is not affected by pressure, only by temperature. This is why the only other time we see that water doesn’t have a constant flow is when we freeze or evaporate it. Cooling water makes it more viscous, while heating it makes the substance less viscous.
Fluids that don’t follow Isaac Newton’s observations are called non-Newtonian fluids. While Newton’s model helps explain that the viscosity of a liquid is changed only by temperature, you can increase or decrease the thickness of a non-Newtonian fluid by exercising additional factors, such as agitation, pressure, or even an electrical field. Scientists give different names to non-Newtonian fluids with varying properties, and many of these will be mentioned in this book.
There are many characteristics that help identify non-Newtonian fluids. One of those characteristics is called shear stress, which sounds a bit complicated, but it’s really easy to understand once you’ve gone through the science behind it. Although it might sound like the feeling you get before a math test, the definition of “stress” used in this book is actually very different. As you may know, to “shear” means to cut or clip something with a sharp instrument. Imagine that you’re hitting a nail with a hammer. There is a lot of force that is applied onto the head of the nail. The force or “sharp instrument” in this example is the movement of your arm that causes the hammer to deform the nail head. In the case of slime, shear stress is any kind of external force (like your arm hitting the nail) that can cause a fluid to move, such as stirring, spreading, or squeezing.
Inside the nail used in the example, there are small particles that are arranged in the form of a solid. This means that the particles exhibit an unmoving, evenly-sorted pattern that holds its shape until the hammer shifts it with an applied force.
This very same concept can be applied to non-Newtonian fluids. Agitating these kinds of substances will shift their particles in one way or another. For instance, quicksand is a kind of fluid that will increase its viscosity with an increase in pressure. This is why it is hard to get out of quicksand; the more you move, the more pressure you exert, the more solidified it becomes, the more it absorbs you. But if you gently ease your way out of it, the quicksand will become more like a liquid, and you will have a slower (but simpler) escape. Quicksand is an example of what scientists call a rheopectic or shear-thickening fluid for these very reasons. Even more common substances like peanut butter and Silly Putty® are considered to be rheopectic or shear thickening. Rheopectic fluids are even inside your body! Have you ever wondered why your elbows or knees pop? Well, the fluid surrounding your knees and elbows is called synovial fluid, and it thickens when stress is applied. When you pop your knuckles, for instance, you cause the bones of the joint to stretch apart, which allows for bubbles to form and burst in the synovial fluid. Pressure makes the fluid “tight” with more bubbles wanting to escape. The “burst” of the bubbles is what causes the “CRACK!” that makes everybody around you cringe.
So if there’s such thing as shear thickening fluids, then there must be shear thinning fluids, right? Correct!
Shear thinning fluids are also known as thixotropic fluids by the scientific community. With thixotropic substances, if the pressure increases, then the viscosity decreases. If you think about it, thixotropic fluids are all around us. Say you wanted to put some ketchup on a hamburger. You can hold the ketchup bottle upside down, but nothing will happen. When you squeeze the bottle, however, the ketchup flows out like a liquid. In this case, the fluid becomes more like a liquid when stress is applied, not like a solid. Other thixotropic fluids include honey, glue, mustard, shaving cream, hair gels, mayonnaise, butter, and margarine.
If you’ve ever gotten ketchup on your shirt and left it there for a while, you might have noticed that the stain got really crusty since your last meal. However, if you’ve ever gotten peanut butter on your shirt, it most likely became runnier and stickier since the time you last ate the PB&J your mom made you for lunchtime. So, why is this?
Remember that ketchup is thixotropic and that peanut butter is rheotropic. To review: thixotropic substances become runnier with pressure, while rheotropic substances become thicker with pressure. On the contrary, thixotropic fluids become thicker with time, while rheopectic fluids become thinner with time.
So yeah, that’s basically it. Enjoy!
This is another great recipe similar to the composition to the commercially available Play-Doh. It can be molded into all sorts of interesting shapes.
What you need:
- Vegetable oil
- Cream of tartar
- Food coloring
- Saucepan or beaker
- Large stirring spoon
- Heat source
- Zip-lock bag
Safety Precautions: Perform only under adult supervision. Exercise caution when using the stove. Wear safety goggles.
How to make it:
- Add 240 mL (1 cup) flour, 240 mL (1 cup) water, 5 mL (1 tsp) vegetable oil, 10 mL (2 tsp) cream of tartar, 60 mL (1/4 cup) salt, and several drops of food coloring to a saucepan.
- Stir thoroughly, until the mixture is free of all clumps.
- Heat over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
- When cool, remove it from the pan. As you work it with your hands, it will develop a more pliable texture.
- For an interesting variation, make Kool-Aid play dough. Repeat the above procedure, except add a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid in place of the food coloring to give the play dough a unique color and scent.
What to do with it:
- Play dough can be molded into a variety of shapes. It holds its shape very well.
- Play dough can be used to model virtually any scientific concept, from atoms to the solar system to parts of the cell.
- Try placing an old penny in a hunk of play dough for a few days. How does the penny look after you remove it? Can you provide an explanation for this phenomenon?
- Store the play dough in a zip-lock bag. If the play dough dries out, add water one drop at a time until it achieves the consistency you desire.
The science behind it: When heated, starch undergoes gelatinization (or thickening) in the presence of water. This is due to hydrogen bonding between the starch and water molecules. The granules of starch absorb water and swell up. This swelling begins when the temperature of the mixture reaches 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). The starch granules become a tangled, amorphous network at this point, losing all structure. This gives the play dough its unique texture. Play dough is actually an example of a gel. A gel is a colloid where a liquid is dispersed in a solid. Other examples of gels are jelly and gelatin.
The play dough is an effective penny cleaner because it contains cream of tartar, which contains tartaric acid. Many acids are highly effective at removing corrosion from metals, and thus are excellent copper cleaners and rust removers. Other acidic substances that are effective at cleaning pennies are vinegar, lemon juice, and carbonated beverages.
The cream of tartar is used in the play dough mixture to prevent crystallization of the salt particles. Acidic substances impede crystallization. If the salt were to form crystals during the making of the play dough, it would develop a grainy texture The lack of crystallization helps to give the play dough a smooth texture.
People were recently asked, “What’s the most disgusting thing your body does?” The number one answer was, ta dah, VOMIT! Yep, good old barf is really repulsive. However, if it weren’t for upchucking, you might not be here reading about it. Vomiting is very important because it gets rid of germs and other contaminants that your body can’t handle. So the next time you upchuck, don’t forget to thank yourself.
Now imagine barf that is not only fake, but edible…
What you need:
- frying pan
- powdered cocoa
- plastic or glass plate
- mixing bowl
- raisin bran cereal
- measuring cup
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin
- yellow food coloring
What you do:
- Put a fistful of oatmeal into bowl. With the spoon, crunch the oatmeal.
- Add a fistful of raisin bran cereal and crunch with the spoon.
- WARNING! GET AN ADULT!
- Got an adult? Great! Place 1/4 cup applesauce into the frying pan on medium heat.
- When the applesauce begins to bubble, add 1 packet gelatin and stir well.
- Add 1 to 2 pinches of powdered cocoa and stir thoroughly.
- Turn off heat.
- Sprinkle a small amount of the oatmeal-and-cereal mixture into the pan.
- Add 2 drops of yellow food coloring.
- Stir the mixture a bit (stir too much and the really gross chunky bits will disappear).
- With the spatula, scrape the barf into a plate.
- Spread and shape it until the barf looks real.
- Cool for several hours.
- Use spatula to remove barf from plate.
- Gross out your auntie by eating to your stomach’s delight!
The gelatin joined the applesauce and cereal bits into one mass. The cocoa powder does not add taste but changes the color of the applesauce to a lovely brown.
How can you tell the difference between a pet dog’s poop and a wild dog’s turd? In a wild dog’s poop, you’ll notice little bones and fur; but because pet food doesn’t include all this rough stuff, your dog’s dookie is smoother. How about porcupine doo doo? Because porcupines chew on bark, their pellets look like dry clumps of sawdust.
By studying the “calling cards” left behind, you can tell which animals live in an area, changes their diets, population density, and the location of their homes. Because scat (mammal dookie) can carry disease, leave the interactive poo-exploring to the poo experts! That’s right, there are people who are actually poo experts. Or, better yet, make your own “fake” poo.
What you need:
- measuring cup
- oatmeal (not instant)
- cocoa powder
- 2 plates
- fake sugar (like NutraSweet or Sweet’n Low; regular or powdered sugar will not work)
- toilet paper
What you do:
- Place 1/2 cup oatmeal on plate; grind oatmeal with your fingers to make it less chunky.
- Add 2 teaspoons cocoa; mix with fingers.
- Add 2 teaspoons sugar; mix.
- Add water little by little until oatmeal mixture can be molded.
- Shape mixture into turd. Set masterpiece aside.
- On second plate, measure 3 teaspoons cocoa.
- Add 1 teaspoon sugar; mix.
- Roll fake turd in cocoa-sugar mixture.
- Place it on toilet paper and show it to your little brother. BUT! – DON’T FORGET TO LET HIM KNOW THAT IT IS NOT REAL!
Real sugar melts in the water, making mixture to soft to mold. If you used fake sugar and still had problems, adjust the amount of water: too wet or too dry and it can’t be molded. If it still doesn’t form, be sure you’re not using instant oatmeal.
This experiment is a lot like my “Methylcellulose Ooze” page. In fact, the active ingredient in Citrucel, (which is the main ingredient you will be using), is methylcellulose. Note: This recipe only makes a small amount of slime. For a large amount, use (and, yes, this is a lot) 4-1/2 cups of Citrucel to one gallon of water.
What you need:
- Citrucel (Amazon link: Citrucel Methylcellulose Fiber)
- Microwaveable cup
What to do:
- First, boil about one cup of water in the microwave.
- Now, slowly add 3 tablespoons of Citrucel to the water while stirring quickly.
- Finally, let the solution cool. You can make this faster by placing the glass in a refrigerator. After about 30 minutes, the solution should turn into a sort of gunge. This is your Citrucel Slime!
Cellulose polymer gel, more commonly known as methylcellulose gel or “methocel,” is used as a thickener in many food products. It is also used in film and television to make a number of fluids including slime, blood and drool, and is an entertaining material in classrooms when teaching children about polymers, which are substances connected by long chemical bonds. Methylcellulose powder is available through food and special effects suppliers. A relatively small amount of powder can make a large quantity of gel, making it very cost effective.
What you need:
- Methylcellulose powder (Amazon link: Methylcellulose Powder)
Large pot for boiling
- Large metal spoon to stir with
What to do:
- Add 1 gallon of water to your large pot.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Stir 5 oz. of methylcellulose powder into the boiling water with a large spoon. Add the powder slowly, allowing it to dissolve completely.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool overnight.
- The water and methylcellulose thicken into an oozy substance.
One of the most spectacular chemistry demonstrations is also one of the simplest. It’s the dehydration of sugar (sucrose) with sulfuric acid. Basically, all you do to perform this demonstration is put ordinary table sugar in a glass beaker and stir in some concentrated sulfuric acid (you can dampen the sugar with a small volume of water before adding the sulfuric acid). The sulfuric acid removes water from the sugar in a highly exothermic reaction, releasing heat, steam, and sulfur oxide fumes. Aside from the sulfurous odor, the reaction smells a lot like caramel. The white sugar turns into a black carbonized tube that pushes itself out of the beaker. Here’s a nice youtube video for you, if you’d like to see what to expect.
HOW IT WORKS:
Sugar is a carbohydrate, so when you remove the water from the molecule, you’re basically left with elemental carbon. The dehydration reaction is a type of elimination reaction.
C12H22O11 (sugar) + H2SO4 (sulfuric acid) → 12 C (carbon) + 11 H2O (water) +mixture water and acid
Although the sugar is dehydrated, the water isn’t ‘lost’ in the reaction. Some of it remains as a liquid in the acid. Since the reaction is exothermic, much of the water is boiled off as steam.
If you do this demonstration, use proper safety precautions. Whenever you deal with concentrated sulfuric acid, you should wear gloves, eye protection, and a lab coat.
Oh, and by the way, consider the beaker a loss, since scraping burnt sugar and carbon off of it isn’t an easy task. Also it’s preferable to perform the demonstration outside or under a fume hood.