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Silly Putty

Essay by   •  March 5, 2019  •  Lab Report  •  464 Words (2 Pages)  •  666 Views

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Silly Putty


Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) – composed of long chain of repeating units (polymer) of vinyl alcohol with the molecular formula of (CH2CHOH-)n or CH2CHOH. 4% PVA was used in the activity. This substance is colorless, odorless, and water –soluble.

16% Sodium Borate (Borax) – is an ionic compound that acts as a linker between the long chains of the polymers and has a molecular formula of Na2[B4O5(OH)4]·8H2O.

Food Coloring – is an artificial dye used in the activity to give different colors and aesthetic appeal to the silly putty.

Observations and Discussion:

Three products were made from the mixture of PVA and borax with few drops of food coloring. Variation in the amounts of borax relative to PVA was done to investigate if there will be resulting differences or desirable effects in the products’ physical properties.

The final products which can be described as slimy, elastic, sticky, bouncy, soft, and has smooth surface, was formed by the cross – linking between the polymer chains of PVA by adding borax. Borax acted as a cross – link which bonded adjacent PVA chains together, causing the formation of the silly putty. Silly putty is basically a common toy which can be used in different fun and de-stressing activities. In addition to that, its unique properties give rise to its other potential functions like acting as a stain remover or adhesives.

Figure 1 shows the cross – linking process involved in silly putty formation.

Table 1 Properties Observed in Silly Putty Products


PVA: Borax Ratio



10 : 0.5

The most slimy and fluid among the three products, elastic but breaks when pulled suddenly, soft, smallest in size,


10 : 1

Sticky, elastic but breaks when pulled suddenly, smooth, transparent, soft





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