FSEA Studies Polymers

 Members of the Holy Angels chapter of Future Scientists and Engineers of America (FSEA) recently learned some fascinating properties of polymers. By combining corn starch with water in the right proportions, the mixture exhibits some unusual properties.  It can be both a solid and a liquid at the same time.  Because starch is a long chain polymer, when water is added it can become trapped in the large polymer molecules which become solid when compressed quickly.  When pressure is released the water and starch can move past each other making it act like a liquid.   Students were able to compress the mixture into a ball and then hold the ball in their hand and watch it melt back to a free flowing liquid. 

In addition, students created the traditional science fair demonstration of a volcano eruption.  However, the usual vinegar and baking soda formula was replaced with chemical reactions involving hydrogen peroxide and yeast, dry ice, and mentos and diet cola. The after school unit was taught by Gary Held.

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