As part of our Unit 1 Chemistry studies, we explored the world of polymers and the process of addition polymerisation. Polymers are able to exhibit an almost limitless variety of properties which makes them useful for a wide range of applications in daily life. We investigated how the properties of polymers can be modified to suit different uses and considered the advantages and disadvantages of these.


To better understand addition polymerisation we made slime and rubber. The slime was made by mixing solutions of polyvinyl alcohol and borax. This resulted in a slime with strong covalent bonds within the polymer chains, but weak hydrogen bonds between the chains. This structure meant that we could stretch the slime when pulled slowly as the polymer chains have time to adjust to a new shape. Additionally, it would snap when pulled apart quickly. This was due to the polymer chains not having enough time to readjust to the quick stretching action, causing it to break. The slime also bounced when rolled into a ball and would break into small pieces when a strong force was applied. It was a lot of fun getting to choose a color and then playing with it to understand how the polymer chains sliding over each to create the soft stretching texture when pulled slowly. 

A second addition reaction we did was making a high bouncing rubber ball using latex, water and vinegar. We slowly added vinegar into a water and latex mixture to form a rubber like ball. We bounced it around and it rebounded to a reasonable height. 


This had to be one the funniest and best experiments we’ve done in chemistry and would definitely love to do this experiment again.

Jessica Krivulin

Year 11 Student