It’s time for class! J-Stace the Science Ace was Mr. Russell’s guest instructor! In today’s science experiment, J-Stace made snow using an unused diaper. Want to try it out for yourself? Here’s what you’ll need.
What You Need
- Ziploc plastic bag
- clear plastic cup
- Place a new and unused disposable diaper on the piece of paper. Carefully cut through the inside lining and remove all the cotton-like material. Put all the stuffing material into a clean, zipper-lock bag.
- Scoop up any of the polymer powder that may have spilled onto the paper and pour it into the bag with the stuffing. Blow a little air into the bag to make it puff up like a pillow, then seal the bag.
- Shake the bag for a few minutes to separate the powdery polymer from the stuffing. Notice how much (or how little) powder falls to the bottom of the bag.
- Carefully remove the stuffing from the bag and pour the dry polymer you just extracted from the diaper into a small, clear cup.
- Fill the cup with about 4 ounces (120 mL) of water. Mix it with your finger until the mixture begins to thicken.
- Observe the gel that the polymer and water create. Turn the cup upside down and see how it has solidified. Now you know the super, moisture-absorbing secret hiding in the lining of a baby diaper.
Science Behind the Experiment
There are two things inside the diapers, paper fluff, and an absorbing crystal substance called sodium polyacrylate. Sodium polyacrylate is a polymer. A polymer is a substance where small molecules join together to form long chains. Water is a monomer (H20), but water molecules cannot join together to form polymers.
Science Word of the Day
Polymers are materials made of long, repeating chains of molecules. The materials have unique properties, depending on the type of molecules being bonded and how they are bonded. Some polymers bend and stretch, like rubber and polyester. Others are hard and tough, like epoxies and glass.
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