Sodium Borate and Glue
Name: Brett B.
I need help with a good recipe for making the slime
polymer using Elmer's glue and sodium borate. Our mixture gets
hard. What is a good recipe for the saturated sodium borate
solution. Why does it get hot? Let me know if you can help out with a
Elmer's glue is made of a copolymer off polyvinyl acetate and polyvinyl alcohol. The
"slime" reaction involves sodium borate and polyvinyl alcohol. If your recipe is
"setting up" you need to decrease the sodium borate concentration, not increase it.
You can find a number of recipes if you do a Google search on the terms: "Elmer's
glue slime". Two sites are:
I have done this "experiment" so many times in school. I brought slime back
to the dorm for friends and roommates. This is pretty fun stuff. I am not
aware of any Elmer's glue recipe. However it is quite possible that PVA
(polyvinyl alcohol), the monomer in this reaction. My own words of advice
are to go a little on the heavy side (use A LITTLE more than what is asked
with respect to the borate anion, also called the cross-linker or catalyst).
If you go really heavy on it the aver MWT chains drastically decreases if
you stir vigorously because the polymerization will have never been given a
chance to link in more ordered, longer chain (SLIMIER) polymers.
The reason I tell you this is because the first time I did this I did not
add enough activator (borate - ) and polymerization did not proceed to an
optimum value. So the answer to your question is unfortunately to follow
that links recipe of 1:4 (ratios on the URL). But maybe start off with even
just a "tad" more borate- than what is called for. I say this because I
know that you will be using Elmer's glue....AND I HAVE NEVER DONE THAT
EXPERIMENT W/ ANY < 99% PURE REAGENTS. My apologies for that.
I have always just placed Borax into a flask with water until it was
saturated--there are "recipes" available, but it is just easier to dissolve
until you cannot dissolve any more. Let the extra settle out so the grit does
not get into your polymer. Check your glue--I am pretty sure it has to be
Elmer's white glue ("school glue" supposedly does not work, although I have
not tried it--perhaps the result is what you made).
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Update: June 2012