Monday, December 31, 2007

Ella got this set of test tubes for Christmas. Each test tube had a mini-experiment in them, with almost everything you need for the project.

They are actually baby liter bottles, and they are heated and expand into big bottles, which makes them cool to begin with.

She started messing around with them, and discovered that most of the experiments revolved around the polymer sodium polyacrylate. It is the stuff in disposable diapers!! She has made crystals (they feel rubbery), and instant snow. There is all kinds of stuff about this on the internet (of course!). You can see an video of how to make instant snow here.
These are the "crystals". They are not really crystals at all, but this freaky material mixed with colored water and absorbing it so that each little piece gets puffed up. Okay, that is my explanation, but I also had to ask Ella what this stuff was called ~ again! ~ while I was posting this. My Aunt Carol said she got the present from Young Explorers. Pretty cool. She always give us fun stuff, including one year she found something with Declan's name on it! Very unusual ~ at least here in America.
This is Ella's instant snow. It does not need to stay cold, but it is better preserved in the fridge. So there it is the refrigerator.

We'll see how long I can stand it. Although the sodium polyacrylate has the word sodium in it (salt right?), sprinkling it with salt defeats whatever chemical reaction has occurred. It is all pretty darn cool.

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