|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
Hi Carrie, There are two ways to make silly putty. The home version is to dilute some elmer's glue (common white glue) to twice its volume with water then treat it with borax. The mixture will then form a polymeric substance like silly putty. I tried this prep, myself, several years ago and found the product to be less than satisfactory plus it lost its elasticity after a few hours. The real stuff is made in a similar way except that silicone oil is substituted for the water/glue mixture. Silicone oil, itself, is a linear polymer made up of dimethylsiloxy subunits (monomers): Me | (-Si-O-)n | Me The borax causes cross polymerization of the silicone oil polymer chains to give the sticky flexible material known as silly putty. Searching keywords "silly putty" on any search engine will turn up a number of hits that will lead you to specific recipes for the real and home versions of silly putty as well as other interesting information about the stuff. Good luck! Jeremy.
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