Summer of STEM: Disappearing Cups
Posted 07/09/2018 by Erick Archer
How do you make a foam polystyrene cup disappear? Put it in an organic solvent such as acetone!What you’ll need:
- Foam polystyrene cup(cups or packaging material)
- Container (pie plate, large bowl or bucket).
- Gloves and goggles
- Pour the acetone into the container to about ½” depth.
- With gloves on, add the cup to the liquid while applying a little downward pressure.
- Notice the polystyrene is dissolving into the acetone.
- Polystyrene is made up of monomers of styrene, an organic compound (C6H5CH=CH2).
- When polystyrene is being produced it exists in a liquid state (like a gooey, thick liquid).
- As polystyrene is produced, air is injected into the mixture creating small balls that are pressed together to form shapes like cups and the packing peanuts you use to keep your items safe in shipment.
- When polystyrene is added to acetone (an organic solvent), the chains between styrene molecules are broken – dissolving them and releasing the air that is trapped inside.
- You may notice that the polystyrene actually forms a solid structure in the acetone since the air has been released; the styrene re-bonds to make a hard dense plastic. Polystyrene without air can be used to make plastic forks, spoons and knives!
Below, see a video of this experiment and others in action:
- January (1)
- Learn to Code with Your TI Graphing Calculator
- Building Bridges with Math + Engineering
- 5 Engineering Projects You Can Do in Your Science Class
- Set your Students up to Soar with “STEM on the Fly”
- Oklahoma Students Make Their Mark Learning to Program with Rover
- Fall in Love with Polar Graphs: Top 4 Ways to Turn Heads with the TI-84 Plus
- March (4)
- Meet TI Teacher of the Month: Daniel Wilkie
- AP® Statistics: 6 Math Functions You Must Know for the TI-84 Plus
- Insider Tips for Winning the TI Codes Contest
- How a math teacher started her school’s first coding club
- Top 10 Features of TI-84 Plus for Taking the ACT®
- Celebrate Mathematics Awareness Month
- May (4)
- June (4)
- July (4)
- January (2)
- February (1)
- April (3)
- May (1)
- June (3)
- July (1)
- August (1)
- September (1)
- October (1)
- April (2)
- May (2)
- August (1)
- September (3)