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Make a Bouncy Silicone Ball

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Salutation to Amateur Chemists! In this installment of "Easy at Home" we're going to be making a silicone ball. For this experiment we'll need 2 chemicals, ETHANOL, which can be purchased at any drug store, and SODIUM SILICATE solution, which may be a little more difficult to find. We will need 10 ml of ethanol and 20 ml of sodium silicate solution. As an added effect, I'm also going to add some phenolphthalein pH indicator to the ethanol, which will react with the basic sodium silicate solution. This will allow you to see the reaction that takes place between the two chemicals. And it will also give the silicaone ball a nice colour. OK. Let me put the ethanol in the container. Now slowly add the sodium silicate solution. Immediately you should begin to see a solid mass forming inside the container. It should also be pink, due to the phenolphthalein reacting with the sodium silicate. The solid mass should start to get larger once you begin to stir the chemicals. Once the mass no longer gets bigger, the reaction is complete. We've just made a POLYMER, but I'll talk a little about that later in the video. Now to form this silicone ball, you can just pick the mass up with your hands, and start molding it into a sphere. I am not wearing gloves for this part, because they have less friction, but you can use your hands, because the chemicals that we used are NON-TOXIC. When molding the sphere, it's best to remove as much liquid as possible, because an excess of liquid will cause the sphere to crumble. You'll know when you've reached the right consistency, because if you squeeze the ball no liquid should come out. Basicall, polymers are just long chains of molecules that are connected together for indefinite lengths. All polymers exhibit many of the same properties, like flexibility, and the behaviour of a solid and a liquid state at the same time. Let's test this thing out - wow! - that must have bounced at least a metre and a half! It's best to get this ball as spherical as possible, so that it doesn't go off breaking things! But as you can see, we've made a very fun toy out of two common chemicals!

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: Canada
Language: English
Producer: The Amateur Chemist
Director: The Amateur Chemist
Views: 2,129
Posted by: locumele on Nov 5, 2009

Polymers allow the ball to bounce to great heights. Ethanol can be bought at any pharmacy. Sodium silicate can be bought easily online.

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