Science Experiments

Electric Slime

Sun, 15th Apr 2007

Listen Now    Download as mp3 Part 1,2 from the show Cutting Cancer down to Size

What you Need

Cornflour

Some cornflour (cornstarch)

Oil

Some vegetable oil

Polystyrene

Some polystyrene (styrofoam) or a balloon

A cup

A cup

A spoon

A spoon

 

 

What to do

The consistancyPut 2-3 tablespoons of cornflour in the mug

Mix in the vegetable oil until you get a consistancy like that of thick cream.

Charge up the balloon or the polystyrene, by rubbing it on your hair.

Pour some of the mixture out of the spoon, and then move the charged part of the balloon near it.

What happens?

What may happen

When you move the charged balloon near the slime, it will start to behave strangely, moving towards the balloon, and becoming much thicker.

The result

Why does it happen?

The cornflour is made up of tiny particles of starch, each less than 10 thousandth of a mm across. When the particles get near to the positively charged balloon, electrons will move towards the balloon inside the particle, making the side nearest the balloon negative and the side furthest positive. Because the positive is nearest the balloon it will be attracted more strongly than the other end is repelled, this is why dust is attracted to charged objects.

Cornflour Particle near a Balloon

In the slime there are billions of these tiny particles surrounded by an insulating liquid so the charges can't escape. So you get lots of particles with positive at the balloon end and negative at the other, these are all attracted together sticking the particles together making the slime much more solid.

Charged Cornflour Particles

Dave Ansell

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