|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
Liquid crystal materials have properties of both liquids and solids. They seem to lack the very orderly arrangement of molecules found in a solid crystalline material. They can have different degrees of order that can be observed in some as the temperature changes (pigments that change color with temperature) or through electrical stimulation, as in the liquid crystal displays found in digital watches. The case of Silly Putty is somewhat different; I do not know whether one would say that it has the properties of both a liquid and a solid. I have heard it referred to as a special kind of liquid - a non-Newtonian fluid. Most fluids are Newtonian - they share the common properties of fluids. In particular, they flow on their own - they make a nice steady stream from one container to another - like pouring water from one glass to another no matter how fast you pour. The non-Newtonian fluid also will flow normally like this on its own, but it will flow only slowly. Silly putty oozes. If you pull GENTLY on Silly Putty it will stretch, a form of oozing or flowing. BUT, if you pull sharply on Silly Putty, it will break; its as though it can't ooze fast enough. You might say that since it breaks that it does act somewhat like a solid. I hope that this helps. You should be able to try this with the Silly Putty you make.
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