Polymer Project Journal Entry #4

photo-on-11-14-16-at-4-51-pm-2To reach our final prototype, our team first created 2 completely different versions of gloop. The first one reached most of our goals; however stretchiness and stickiness were two characteristics it lacked. On the other hand, the second polymer had everything but stretchiness. We decided to then improve on to the second polymer (it had more desired characteristics like more flexibility) by lessening the amount of borax to increase stretch and stickiness and some other ingredients (full recipe in the instructions above). This prototype polymer (Prototype 2A) was the closest we got to perfect as we did not want the polymer to be to sticky or stretchy or else the polymer case would droop off or stick into cracks of the phone. Prototype 2A could stretch as long as you crush-rolled it on a flat surface and only stuck to phones as long as it was ever-so-slightly rubbed with a bit of water. A limitation we had was that if the case experienced a very big impact (let’s say if it fell off a cellphone tower), the case would then split and “explode”. But, if you collect the pieces you could crush-roll it back into a case (all of this can be seen in the infomercial above).

I learned that defining and creating solutions for a goal can be very quick and simple, completely unlike the execution/development of one. Debates and questions arose as we tried to decide what was best and how we could improve our polymer. Every ingredient we added not only added a desired characteristic, but also took away one. In the end, we were able to overcome these obstacles and created a somewhat satisfying polymer.

Polymer Project Journal Entry #1

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-10-05-56-amA polymer is just a lot of monomers bonded together. Monomers are just basically molecules that make up polymers… it’s just a fancy term for it. Polymers can be man-made in a lab (synthetic) or you can find them naturally in the woods or in your body (natural resource).

Some natural polymers can be found just within 10 km of where you are. The vegetables in your local Jenny’s contain a familiar polymer called starch. Silk was a very commonly used natural polymer that the Chinese harvested a long time ago and still do today. However, due to the lack of or small disadvantages, most natural polymers were traded for better, more durable synthetic polymers.

PVC, a synthetic polymer which is made out of industrial salt and oil, is  used for pipes/sewer treatment, wire coating, construction, school projects, etc. Due to it’s cheapness and relatively easy production, big companies and hobbyists both commonly use this polymer. Another synthetic polymer called nylon, which is created from coal and petroleum, is usually used to produce fabrics/clothing that are water resistant, elastic, and great for exercise.

Natural resources become synthetic through a process called polymerization. During polymerization, the monomers are purposefully chemically reacted to each together to form many bonds, eventually creating a polymer.





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effika <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/19877267@N07/28093142822″>Lace Chickadee Cowl</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>