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Everything You Need to Know About Slime

Posted 11/21/2019 by Russ Frank, Polymers

What is slime? Is it a solid or a liquid? The iconic gooey substance is a Non-Newtonian fluid, which means it’s neither a solid nor a liquid. Slime doesn’t technically have its own shape. That’s why it can be picked up like a solid, oozed out like a liquid, or even rolled up and bounced like a ball because of its elasticity.

Slime reacts so fluidly to its environment due to its flexible chemical bonds formed by polymers and a boron activator. For example, ingredients for making it at home include mixing a specific kind of glue with saline solution or liquid starch. Its unique chemistry makes the substance popular with more than just young people. Slime has gained attention from the scientific community for having out-of-this-world properties. 

Which begs the question we’ve all been curious to ask ...

How does slime react in outer space?

To find out how slime reacts in outer space, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket recently launched six liters of slime to the International Space Station. Through a series of experiments, under the title Non-Newtonian Fluids in Microgravity, NASA scientists will learn “about the behavior of slime in microgravity by focusing on its rebounding and wetting behavior at various impact speeds.” The slime was specially formulated to withstand the specific needs of space travel by an adhesive and special effects product manufacturer.

We look forward to learning the results of this research. Given the popularity of slime, we’re confident that many others look forward to learning the results, too.

How do you make slime?

Pace® 383, a vinyl acetate homopolymer offered by H.B. Fuller, acts as a reliable base for slime. The combination of Pace® 383, water, baking soda and saline solution forms a gooey, viscous substance. How does this happen? The polymer molecules flow alongside each other, which allow the slime to flow as a liquid.

With hundreds of slime recipes available online, one does not need to be a manufacturer to create the Non-Newtonian substance. Simply search “slime recipes,” select one, then roll up your sleeves and find out what happens. At H.B. Fuller, we are thrilled to follow the continued popularity of slime. It is important for young minds to realize the value (and fun) of science by experimenting with new materials in a safe environment.

Click here to learn about our polymer products for arts and crafts.

Students make and sell slime at the H.B. Fuller shop.

In JA BizTown, students make and sell slime at the H.B. Fuller shop.

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