Prototypes 1, 2 and 3 were all equally successful, as they all made very good stress balls. Though they had different recipes and the final texture of each prototype was different, they made suitable stress balls for different people. Prototype 1 made a very hard, bouncy slime that doesn’t stretch and keeps it shape, which is perfect for a hard stress ball. Prototype 2 had a softer texture than prototype 1, and didn’t keep its shape as well. It stretches better than prototype 1, making the medium stress ball. Lastly, prototype 3 was very stretchy and so soft that it felt like water in your hands, but it didn’t hold its shape like prototype 1 did, making the soft stress ball. During the process of making slime, slime activators (Tide in this case) changes the position of the molecules of the reactants (guar gum and water) in a process called cross-linking. Because of the different amounts of guar gum used for each prototype, the thickness and consistency were different. However, no specific prototype was the best because they make suitable stress balls for each person based on their own opinions.
Our design process was very simple. In class, we decided on our specific goal, which is to relieve stress, and we chose a target audience that we are familiar with: stressed teens. We decided on creating stress balls right away because it is the first thing that came to mind when thinking about stress relief. We also had a clear goal of how to make our product different from others: eco-friendly stress balls. In the end, our polymer was very eco-friendly in terms of its ingredients. Despite using biodegradable ingredients, one challenge we faced was that we did not have anything eco-friendly to put our slimes in to create a stress ball, so we had to use a regular balloon. Another flaw of our product was that if left out for a few days, the slime “melts.” One stress ball was made to be the hard stress ball. However, over the course of two days, it softened so much that it became the prototype for the soft stress ball. This also shows the sustainability of our product. Even if the hard slime melts inside the balloon, it can still be used as a stress ball, despite the change of texture of the slime. There are many flaws that our product has at the moment, but we would like to make some future improvements such as using more eco-friendly/biodegradable and stronger balloons in exchange to regular balloons or making our slime last longer inside the balloon.