To 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.
As stated in the previous journal entry, the polymer phone case should be stretchable and bouncy so it could absorb any impact forces, and it should be able to harden somewhat so the polymer doesn’t stick or droop off the phone. We created a table to test the prototype polymers. Prototype #1 was made out of gloop, 1g of borax to increase bounce but decreased stickiness and stretchiness, 1g of PVA solution to increase the wanted stickiness, and 1g of guar gum to add rubbery properties to absorb force. Prototype #2A was made out of gloop, and extra 5g of borax to increase bounce, 2g of both liquid and solid cornstarch to thicken and decrees stickiness of polymer, and 3g of PVA solution to decrease goopyness. We wanted to test out if the polymers had the desired properties. Does it stretch so it can wrap around any type of phone? Does it stick because if it does it might ruin the phone by getting into the cracks? Does it absorb force so you don’t have to worry about your phone breaking? Does it harden so it doesn’t slowly fall off your phone? As you can see in the graph above, the DRIED versions of the polymer did not reach our expectations; however, we recreated prototype #2A as it was more flexible than the other one when dried, and the fresh version reached most of our expectations: it could stretch, not really sticky, can absorb force and would harden after left out for a day. The group decided that a slightly dried polymer that would then be bagged/wrapped would be the best state for use.
Our basic goal was to create a polymer that could prevent an object from breaking, so we narrowed it down to c reating a 4.7 inch iPhone case. Obviously, we aim to any iPhone owner as the case is meant for iPhones. Like any phone case, the product will protect the phone from any bumps or falls that would dent the phone. As you can see, the phone above without a case is cracked and nasty… unlike the beautiful pristine phone WITH a case. Our group decided that “gloop” would be a good base polymer for our custom polymer as it needed to be solid, thick and also needed to absorb the force exerted on the phone. Characteristics our polymers do need is that it has to “harden” as in retain its shape after some kind of catalyst. “Oobleck” has a similar characteristic of hardening so we might find a way to incorporate that in. One thing that COULD be possible is that before hardening into a case, the polymer could be stretchable and be customizable and fit to any phone, which means that the target audience doesn’t have to be IPhone owners. This would separate the phone case from the others and other cases don’t have customizable sizes… a one size fits all.
A 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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