Slime. We certainly know it when we see it, but what really is it?
Usually, we define substances as solid, liquid, or gas- the three states of matter. Solids, consist of tightly packed molecules that move very little. Liquids, have molecules that flow and move around each other. And in gasses, the molecules are very fast and far apart… Which raises the question, what do we do about something that can look and feel solid but actually moves more like a liquid?
Well, think Silly-Putty. While it might harden when you squeeze it, or even bounce if you throw it on the floor, if you let it sit in your hand it’ll begin ooze. So here’s the answer, substances with a slime or putty-like consistency are called a non-newtonian substance. This is a substance that (dependent on how you manipulate it, like our silly-putty example) can sometimes act like a solid or like a liquid.
Fun Fact: Non-Newtonian substances are all around us! Many of them are food products that we eat such as honey, ketchup, peanut butter, and whipped cream.
It’s Slime Time!
This Silly Slime recipe, is really simple but requires heating which can be an added safety hurdle when working with kids. Please, if you’re interested in making this at home, have an adult present to assist any kiddos.
Our main ingredient for this recipe is Psyllium husk– A plant based, fiber supplement found in products like Metamucil (I like to use it because it’s borax free!).
For this recipe you will need:
- Psyllium husk
- Food Coloring (of your choice!)
- Microwave-safe bowl
- ADULT ASSISTANCE
Another tidbit before we being: The ratio for Silly Slime is 1 tbs of psyllium husk to 1 cup of water. For the sake of this recipe, we’ll assume that you are making slime for one!
- 1 cup of water
- Desired amount of food coloring (Pro Tip: less is ALWAYS more)
…into a microwavable-safe bowl. Begin to mix and add…
- 1 tbs of psyllium husk.
Continue stirring until mixture until well-combined.
This is where things can get tricky (and sticky)
READ THIS SECTION FULLY BEFORE YOU BEGIN HEATING!
Microwave the mixture for 5-10 minutes or until it reaches desired consistency. Be aware, after the initial 2 minutes of heating, the slime can begin to rise. So, we recommend you keep an eye on it at is heats!
Pro Tip: My “desired consistency” for slime is when it sticks to a spoon and creates a long slime train. A good thing to keep in mind is that the slime is “sheer thinning” which means it acts more like a liquid the more you manipulate it. This can mean a bigger mess but helps if it comes in contact with things like fabric.
Finally, cautiously remove your mixture from the microwave and pour it out onto a plate (or table-top if you love a good mess like I do). Once the slime is cool enough, it’s time to pick-up, jiggle, and play!
Have fun scientists!
-Sam Connelly, Educator