Thursday, 3 March 2011

Lab investigation:Polymers

In this lab we had a chance to test out the rebound capabilities of a polymer that we would create. When going through the procedures of the lab, I do not believe my group strayed from the instructions apart from putting about one mL extra of sodium silicate polymer into the mix, which I don't believe did anything to our solution. Original I had thought that the final polymer would be a lot different then what it actual turned out to be. To put it in my own words: "If we follow the procedures, the final product will be a moldable rubbery slimy substance, rather like the previous lab"-Jacob R. Hann 2011 I was not correct with my entire description but I was correct in my thinking that the final product would be rather rubbery. If I had to describe what the final polymer turned out to be I would call it a rubber like substance that was moldable, but that would still break apart rather easily.
Here are a few pictures of our polymer:

These two pictures are of our polymer after it had been molded into a sphere.

This last picture is of our polymer while it was still in the beaker. The reaction is already beginning to take place even thought the liquids were just pored together.

The polymer that we constructed today was quite different than the one we created on tuesday. First of all the one we created today with the sodium silicate was not wet, and broke apart easier than the last one. It was also much harder to mold. More of a solid, less of a liquid. In this lab we used silicon to create our polymer where as most polymers are made using carbon. We were able to use silicon because it shares so many properties with carbon, it's even right next to carbon on the periodic table. Our polymer was also quite similar to a plastic, of course it seemed much more similar to a rubber, but I will point out the similarities anyway. First of all, plastic is also hard, but breakable (our polymer was much more moldable than plastic). Also the textures are very much alike. I knew that a chemical reaction had happened as soon as the two liquids were stirred together. This knew, because they immediately began to dry up and to leave, in there place, a hard plastic-like substance. This was very interesting to watch because it happened so fast.

In the previous experiment, we had made a different polymer ball, that one was made of elmer's glue, and borax. We tested both balls in the same way, one test dropping the ball 5 times from 30 cm in the air and measuring how high it bounced, and a second test which involved going through the exact same procedure after putting the ball in refrigerator for 15 minutes. The results were quite interesting. On the first ball, test #1 yielded an average rebound of 9 cm, the second test however yielded an increased average rebound of 15 cm. On the second ball, the first test yielded an average rebound of 20 cm
and the second test yielded a decreased average rebound of 18 cm. This shows the difference between the two polymers and how not all polymers react to temperature the same. My group also asked around some of the other groups to find out how their polymers reacted to the change in temperature. It turns out that their polymers reacted almost exactly like our, with some small differences.

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