How to Make a Bouncing Polymer Ball for an Experiment With Polymers

Written by jennifer young
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How to Make a Bouncing Polymer Ball for an Experiment With Polymers
Parents can help their child make polymer bouncy balls. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Polymers are large molecules made of a series of components linked together with chemical bonds. Polymers can be made of natural or synthetic components. Combinations of specific polymers make substances that bounce when applied with force to a solid surface. One example of this phenomenon is bouncing polymer balls. You can make these balls at home with relatively few ingredients, and teachers sometimes use this process in science courses to demonstrate bonds and polymer construction.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1/2 tsp measuring spoon
  • 1 tbsp measuring spoon
  • 1 tbsp white or clear glue
  • 1/2 tsp borax
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 2 plastic cups
  • 2 plastic spoons or wooden craft sticks

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  1. 1

    Measure 1 tbsp of white glue with the 1 tbsp measuring spoon. Pour the glue into the first cup. This substance is the "glue mixture".

  2. 2

    Measure 2 tbsp of warm water and 1/2 tsp of borax with the appropriate measuring spoons. Pour the water and borax into the second cup. Mix the two components together until the borax dissolves. This combination is the "borax mixture".

  3. 3

    Measure 1 tbsp of cornstarch with the 1 tbsp measuring spoon. Pour the cornstarch into the glue mixture. Measure 1/2 tsp of the borax mixture and pour it into the glue mixture. Allow the glue mixture to sit for 10 to 15 seconds.

  4. 4

    Stir the glue mixture until all the ingredients are well blended and stirring becomes difficult.

  5. 5

    Remove the glue mixture from the cup and pour it into your hands. Roll the mixture between the palms of your hands in a circular motion until a solid ball forms.

Tips and warnings

  • You can add food colouring to the polymer mixture to dye the polymer bouncy ball. You should add the food colouring to the glue in small amounts and mix with one of the stirring implements until you achieve the desired colour. Using clear glue will produce a clear bouncy ball. White glue will make a white ball unless you add food colouring. The glue mixture will be sticky when you begin the hand-rolling process. The surface will become less sticky as the ball solidifies.
  • Small quantities of borax and certain kinds of glue can be toxic to children and pets when ingested. Supervise children during the polymer bouncy-ball-making process to ensure that they don't ingest the substance. Wash hands well after you have completed preparation. Clean the preparation surface and dispose of all preparation materials properly to avoid further contact with the substances. Do not get glue mixture on any fibrous material, as it can damage clothing and rugs.

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