Have you ever heard of Gak? Take this hands-on activity to the next level and make your own bouncy balls so you can learn a little something about polymers.
ABOUT THE SCIENCE
In response to the July 22, 2016 Health Canada advisory, the bouncy ball experiment was recently updated.
Balls have been around for thousands of years and, believe it or not, the earliest balls were made of stone and wood! Not much bounce to those first ones!Bouncing balls were first made with natural rubber, but now, they can also be made of plastics and other polymers.
Polymers are molecules made up of repeating chemical units, and they can be either natural or synthetic. Natural polymers are wool, silk, and natural rubber, whereas synthetic polymers can be made of nylon, silicone, or synthetic rubber.
Bouncy balls (as a toy), were invented by a chemist who was experimenting with rubber. He found when he compressed rubber together under about 3500 pounds per square inch (psi) the result was a really durable sphere capable of extremely high bounce. Other factors that affect a ball’s ability to bounce are: temperature, outside coverings, different surfaces for bouncing and whether or not the ball is solid or inflated with air