Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sodium Silicate Polymer Investigation

I was not expecting the results of today's lab. I did not think that the ending results would look like a "bouncy ball." A major difference between today's lab and Tuesday's lab was the procedures leading up to the conclusion. For example, when we began to stir the different solutions, the glue/borax solution took a longer time to become a solid and interfuse together. When we stirred up the sodium and ethyl alcohol, the results where instantaneous. Another difference was the overall look and feel of the solutions. Obviously with the glue, the solution was sticky and a pure white coloring. The sodium silicate solution, was transparent. If the glue solution had to be described in an everyday item, it would have to be marshmallow jet puff or taffy, because they have very similar looks and textures. If the sodium silicate had to be described, it would be a bouncy ball, because of the heights it got to, the sound, and the texture of it. Also, each experiment where manifestly used to create different polymers, using different ingredients. It is harder to shape the glue solution because, due to evaporation, the moisture inside the ball started to escape. When I started to roll it into a ball, there was a sudden realize of liquid, from the inside of the ball. The sodium/alcohol just needed a little water and some elbow grease and walla, it was a perfect circular ball. A more chemical difference is that sodium silicate bonds with four oxygen bonds, whereas silicon only binds with 2 carbon atoms. One of the similarities would be that the atoms of each chemical had to combine, in order to create the bond. If they did not combine, then there would be two layers of the solution: both different. The combining ultimately lead to the fusion to create the final ball. Another similarity is between silicon and carbon. Both carbon and silicon make four chemical bonds and can be branched out into four different directions to make a long chains. They both can combine with each other and other elements, in order to create many great elements.

Some problems that we encountered was that we were not a to see exactly 3 mL, because the graduated cylinder did not go all the way down to that. We just estimated by pouring the liquid a little under the 5mL cut off. We also did not use of the of the sodium silicate/alcohol mixture. This could effect the mass of the ball, when we dropped it to record the rebound. The extra weight could have changed the height. Gravity and weight go hand in hand. It is a myth that says heavier things fall faster, but it can cause the ball to bounce higher. For question 6, a major difference between the group's balls, would be the size of them. The size is basically saying that the mixture of the solution would make more of the material used to create the balls. The ball we made was smaller than other groups. Another thing is that people had a difficult time trying to put the ball together. Because they were drowning it in water, the solution could a broken down. Their hands could have removed solution from the ball. You could see how much liquid that came out of the ball by using a container. If you rolled the solution into a your hands, do it above the container, so that the extra fluids drip out, and you are able to measure the amount. Silicone has the potential of replacing plastic.

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