In this activity students will discover how a change in the structure of a molecule can change the physical properties. Students will mix PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) with borax. The borax creates cross links between the PVA molecules. This extends the PVA molecules and result in the new substance having a firmer texture.
For faster results ask technicians to add the raw ingredients to the cup with astirrer. This allows students to simply stir and observe the changes.
In this activity students create a polymer. They should observe that by adding borax to PVA the consistency changes. This is analogous to oil changing to plastic, as oil goes from being a liquid to being a solid. Students should recognise that by increasing the length of the molecule in both oil and our PVA-borax mixture we can change their properties.
Part of:Common Seas Ocean Plastics Academy
Science | Ages 11-14
Ocean Plastics Science is a Key Stage 3 (KS3) resource combining both biology and chemistry. Students discover the journey plastic takes from manufacture, use, and disposal into the ocean. Included are teacher resources that allow students to emulate real research conducted by The University of Plymouth.