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who was the first person to make slime

who was the first person to make slime

who was the first person to make slime

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who was the first person to make slime
who was the first person to make slime

WEEK ONE: A SLIMY HISTORY

The slime we all know and love to play with (only scientific play, of course) has been around for a long time. Most people credit the Mattel Toy Company as the originator of slime when it introduced ready-made slime sold in a tiny plastic “trash can” in the winter of 1976. The Mattel slime was made using guar gum and sodium tetraborate. Others say Nickelodeon TV made slime a household word in 1979 by using it in various ways on a number of its shows for years.

(It should be noted that what Nickelodeon used may have felt slimy but it wasn’t true slime by definition. Green water, runny oatmeal, applesauce, and a few other additives are a concoction, not a slime. But hey, it was a blast!) The 1984 Columbia Pictures release Ghostbusters introduced a short, plump, green character named Slimer (“a focused, non-terminal, repeating phantasm or a class-5, full-roaming vapor”) that left a trail of green, slimy ooze wherever it went and covered whomever happened to be nearby. Despite Hollywood and Burbank, you have to back up through time a little more. 

The story of slime starts in the early 20th Century. That’s when the science of synthetic polymers was starting to be explored and amazing discoveries were being made. In the 1920s, Nobel laureates laid the groundwork for today’s polymers. A new molecular model of polymers was made that suggested they were formed in long, twisted, chain-like molecules. These models were confirmed later by two scientists using x-rays to study natural rubber (itself a polymer). It was after this time that development of synthetic polymer and plastic materials really took off.

Design

Although a wide variety of slime variants are sold, they have many common characteristics. In general, slime is a gooey liquid available in small tubs. It can be sold by itself or as part of a toy set, such as an accessory for an action figure. Slime has a slightly unpleasant odor and is cold and slimy to the touch. Colors vary but the most common are green, blue, and red. Some manufacturers add fragrances to improve the odor.

One of the key aspects of slime formulation is that the materials must be safe for young children. In general, this means that the raw materials used to make slime must be nonirritating to the skin or eyes and non-toxic in case of ingestion. Additionally, consumers demand that slime (and toys like it) will not damage things like clothing, upholstery, fabric, or carpeting.

Raw Materials

Slime formulas are initially produced in laboratories by chemists. These scientists begin by determining what aesthetic features the slime will have. For example, they decide what the consistency will be, what color it will have and what it will smell like. Consumer testing is often used to help in making these decisions. After the features are determined, small test batches are made in the laboratory using the primary raw materials. The most common ingredients used in the production of toy slime are water, polymeric materials, gelling agents, colorants, fillers, and preservatives.

The most abundant material in slime is water, typically making up over 90% of the formula. Generally, specially treated deionized water is used. Water is a diluent that gives the slime its liquid consistency. The source of the water can be from underground wells, lakes, and rivers.

This is a simplified, elevator-pitch version of PVA slime science if you’re in a hurry.

Most liquids, such as water (H2O), are made up of separate, unconnected molecules moving around and tumbling over and bouncing into and off of one another. These single, unconnected molecules are called monomers (mono = one). Monomer liquids – like water – flow easily and are seldom gooey or sticky.

In other substances, identical monomers are chemically bonded into very long, separate chains of many molecules called polymers (poly = many). These long chains don’t often flow like water; they’re gooier and may even ooze a little. Imagine a bowl of tiny steel chains. The chains can roll over and around one another but they are still long and separate. One chain is not hooked to another chain. If you grab one chain and pull it out, that’s what you get: one chain. Liquid polymers tend to flow more slowly than liquid monomers. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and is a liquid polymer. It looks a little thicker than water because, well… it is!

who was the first person to make slime
who was the first person to make slime

To make slime, the molecules in the Activator solution “cross-link” (or bond with) the long strands of PVA molecules. Think of the bowl of chains again. What happens if you toss a million tiny magnets into the bowl and stir? This time when you reach in and grab just one chain, they all come out at once. The Activator solution is the “magnet” and it links to water molecules throughout the PVA chains. (NOTE: Activator solution links chemically, not magnetically.) When you try to pull out one PVA chain, all the cross-linked chains come with it. You’ve got slime on your hands!

WEEK FOUR: GLUE SLIME VS PVA SLIME

There are naturally occurring polymers that can produce a true, non-Newtonian slime, e.g. guar gum (taken from guar beans), methylcellulose (taken from plants), milk (taken from cows) and cornstarch (taken from – well, you get the idea). Another favorite is an ordinary glue like Elmer’s® School Glue (either white or clear – both washable). You need to keep in mind that there will be huge differences in consistency and flow between glue slime and PVA slime. But heck, both are true slimes so you might as well explore them!

PVA is used by the plastics industry to form surface coatings and, among other things, to make surface films resistant to gasoline. It’s also used to make artificial sponges, hoses, and printing inks. If you check out the ingredients of contact lens wetting solutions, you may find PVA used as a lubricant and a cleanser. Most PVA solutions contain a special disinfectant to help resist those pesky germs found on those not-so-clean hands of yours, too. PVA is also used as a thickener, stabilizer, and binder in cosmetics, paper cloth, films, cements, and mortars. PVA solution dries to a thin plastic-like film that is finding use in packaging materials. If left in the environment, the PVA film will naturally break down rather than require a major clean-up effort. It’s good stuff!

Do you know something about Borax?

 

Borax: Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate Is the Borate ION, the borate compound that’s the perfect linking agent for slime. Where was it originally discovered? – In Tibet, in evaporate lake beds, these dry lake beds, these salts that they mine, that’s how they originally found Borax.

Now it’s used as a detergent, in cosmetics, it’s actually even used in some food. There are so many uses. Just a quick glance of wikipedia and you’ll find all the natural sources of it, where it comes from and all the things that can be used for.

 

Now everything is “Borax is bad”. Where did that come from? How did Borax get to be bad?

 

Well, Borax had to be bad because of an irresponsible article that came out on TV, (I’ll let you figure out who said this) of a mom who allowed a kid to make as much slime as she wanted to for a long period of time. This kid was soaking in borax and water making slime, having fun and what happened? Her hands got irritated… Her skin got irritated… you’d think that would make some sense but no… We’re gonna let her kid continue to play, continue to play until you take her to the hospital, claim that there’s burns on her and now of a sudden, you can’t use Borax.

I wonder what the people from Elmer’s think about us not being able to use Borax. They must have a solution, we gotta find Elmer’s glue!

 

You know what’s making me lose my mind now?

 

The people who hate Borax. What do you know about Borax? NOTHING!

I’ve been using Borax for almost 30 years to teach kids how to make slime. Borax is the perfect linking agent; Sodium Tetraborate.

Our news stories were totally irresponsible telling people that this is dangerous. It has vilified something that we need to get kids excited about science and I’ll venture to guess, you know nothing about Borax.

who was the first person to make slime
who was the first person to make slime

Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? Just what is this slick, stringy, rubbery stuff?

 

This variation on PVA slime will probably remind you of a similar material found in many toy stores. Glue slime is the most popular version of “slime” among teachers because it’s so easy to make (with very little messiness) and serves as a great visual tool for introducing students to the properties of polymers. Normally, the glue hardens as water evaporates from it. The result is that two objects are held together tightly. If you can prevent or slow the water from evaporating out of the glue, you get a slime. The Activator solution locks up the water and evaporation drops to a minimum. Eventually, the slime will dry out and the drying process will actually speed up over time.

WEEK THREE: THE BORAX CONVERSATION

Video Transcript:

You know what’s making me lose my mind now? The people who hate Borax. What do you know about Borax? NOTHING!

I’ve been using Borax for almost 30 years to teach kids how to make slime. Borax is the perfect linking agent; Sodium Tetraborate.

Our news stories were totally irresponsible telling people that this is dangerous. It has vilified something that we need to get kids excited about science and I’ll venture to guess, you know nothing about Borax.

 

Do you know something about Borax?

 

Random Posts

Borax: Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate Is the Borate ION, the borate compound that’s the perfect linking agent for slime. Where was it originally discovered? – In Tibet, in evaporate lake beds, these dry lake beds, these salts that they mine, that’s how they originally found Borax.

who was the first person to make slime
who was the first person to make slime

Now it’s used as a detergent, in cosmetics, it’s actually even used in some food. There are so many uses. Just a quick glance of wikipedia and you’ll find all the natural sources of it, where it comes from and all the things that can be used for.

 

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