MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Why does P.V.A glue and liquid tempura paint mix together to form slime ?

Date: Tue Jul 29 07:13:25 2003
Posted By: Keith Allison, , dept: New Product, Technology & Development, Binney & Smith, Inc. (Crayola)
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1058927838.Ch

Dear Carea,

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is a polymer that dissolves in water.  As water 
dries, the PVA molecules begin to link together to form chains of 
different lengths.  Certain surfactants and other chemicals can act 
as "crosslinking agents" that will cause the chains to link together to 
form a gel-like structure ("slime").  Traditionally, the most common 
crosslinker is Borax (sodium borate).  Paints contain many chemicals and 
surfactants which could crosslink the PVA chains as readily as borate does.

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