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.
For prototype 1, we started with 3 grams of guar gum and 30ml of water. It created a rubbery slime that was too hard to squeeze. Prototype 1 was bouncy and held its shape well. It had a hard-putty texture rather than a slime consistency. Prototype 1 was so hard that it couldn’t be molded into a ball shape, as it didn’t stick to itself well. Because of this, we used less guar gum for prototype 2. We used 2 grams of guar gum to 50 ml of water. This created a softer slime compared to prototype 1, but it was still quite hard. It was perfect for a harder stress ball for more stress. However, it is not very stretchy and breaks quite easily when squeezed in your hands. At the time, we only had plans to have a perfect slime for one stress ball, and prototype 1 or 2 were not the perfect slime that we had in mind. For prototype 3 we reduced the amount of guar gum again, to 1 gram, and added more water (50ml). At first, the slime didn’t look like it was coming together, but after playing with it for a while, it became a gooey slime. It was very stretchy and soft. It was the perfect slime we had in mind. Despite its consistency, prototype 3 did not hold its shape and “melted” on the table. Finally, prototype 4 had the same recipe as prototype 3, but with the addition of shaving foam. Prototype 4 was our group’s favourite out of all of them. It was soft like prototype 3, but it held its shape much better. It “melted” much slower than prototype 3. Despite its good qualities, like prototype 3, it is not bouncy at all and doesn’t hold its shape as well as prototype 1 and 2 does.
As mentioned in the previous journal, we used guar gum and water instead of PVA glue, and tide detergent instead of borax solution. All of our tests and prototype were based on three basic materials: guar gum, water, and Tide detergent. Based on some research, slime made with guar gum creates a more watery and jiggly slime, which is the first property we expected the slime to have. Instead of following tutorials, we wanted to experiment with our own measurements of the ingredients. We started off with 2 grams of guar gum with 30 ml of water and created a slime. For each prototype, we twitched with the amount of guar gum or the amount of water we use, until we had the perfect slime that had a consistency that we were happy with. During the process, we found out the more the guar gum, the rubberier the slime was. Because of this property, we estimated the ratio of guar gum (g) to water (ml), which was approximately 1:50. Afterward, we also added one more ingredient to our recipe: shaving foam. It was a good addition to the recipe because it made the texture of the slime fluffier and softer to play with, and it is also biodegradable. For this ingredient, we also played around with the amount we put in each prototype to make it the perfect consistency.
For our group’s polymer project, our open-ended design goal was to create something that relieves stress. However, there aren’t many new things that we can create with polymers. So, our group decided to make slime, and make it into a stress ball, but with eco-friendly materials. Our target audience is stressed teens, as teens tend to suffer from stress a lot, whether it is because of school or because of other reasons. We believe that helping teens to relieve stress is a very important part of our product, as it helps teens cope with mental stress. Currently, most slimes are made of PVA glue and borax solution. Despite the fact that they are the easiest products to get access to, they are not eco-friendly materials. We want to create a polymer slime that is eco-friendly, made of biodegradable ingredients. First of all, we want a base polymer that can act as a substitute for PVA glue. During our research, we found out that we can replace PVA glue with guar gum mixed with water. Guar gum is a biopolymer from a plant called the cluster bean (also known as the guar bean). When mixed with water, a thick, sticky substance is produced. Most importantly, guar gum is very eco-friendly as it is a natural material. We also replaced the borax solution with Tide detergent for the slime activator, as Tide is biodegradable. According to P&G, the company that created Tide, 95% of its newest detergent, Tide Purclean, is made up of biodegradable ingredients and water. Unfortunately, we are not able to find any Tide Purclean to use; therefore, we used regular Tide instead of Tide Purclean.