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Hydrogen Bonding in Slime


250 mL Beaker

Stirring Rod (or wooden stir stick)

4% Polyvinyl Alcohol (premeasured usually 100 mL)

4% Sodium Tetraborate Solution (premeasured usually 16 mL)

Food coloring

Gloves and Goggles



  • Pour 100ml of 4% polyvinyl alcohol solution into a 250ml beaker, add a couple of drops of food coloring for your favorite color.
  • Pour 16ml 4% sodium tetraborate solution into the polyvinyl alcohol solution while stirring vigorously with the supplied wooden stick.
  • Stir the solution as fast as you can for 30 seconds or so - until the solution begins to polymerize.
  • You now have a colored polymer.



Sodium borate hydrolyzes in water to form a boric acid-borate ion buffer with pH around 9.

B4O72 (aq) + H2O <---> HB4O72- (aq) + OH- (aq)

The borate ions react with the hydroxyl groups of the poly(vinyl alcohol) [-CH2 CHOH-]n to form cross links possibly with the elimination of water. The cross links probably involve hydrogen bonds that break and reform under flow.


Waste Management

The polymerized slime can be thrown in the trash.