Experiments with hydrogels - hair gel and disposable nappies

Description

In these activities students investigate hydrogels – polymeric smart materials. They are found in many products, including disposable nappies and hair gel. The practical is fun to do and the results dramatic.

Credits

:
This is an experiment from the Practical Chemistry project, developed by the Nuffield Foundation and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
experiments-with-hydrogel...



Experiments with hydrogels - plant water storage crystals.

Apparatus Chemicals

Eye protection

Plastic gloves for those with sensitive skin

Hair gel experiment (each group):

Hair gel

Petri dish or lid

Teaspoon or similar – an ordinary spatula is a bit small

Disposable nappies experiment (each group):

Scissors

Large ice cream tub or similar container (Note 1)

Dessert spoon or similar measure

Stirring rod

Large beaker or plastic tub to hold at least 600 cm3

Each working group requires:

Disposable nappy, 1

Distilled water, about 500 cm3 per group

Access to:

Hair gel

Sodium chloride (table salt)

Refer to Health & Safety and Technical notes section below for additional information.

 


Read our standard health & safety guidance










Page last updated October 2015

In these activities students investigate hydrogels – polymeric smart materials. They are found in many products, including disposable nappies and hair gel. The practical is fun to do and the results dramatic.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This is a resource from the Practical Chemistry project, developed by the Nuffield Foundation and the Royal Society of Chemistry. This collection of over 200 practical activities demonstrates a wide range of chemical concepts and processes. Each activity contains comprehensive information for teachers and technicians, including full technical notes and step-by-step procedures. Practical Chemistry activities accompany Practical Physics and Practical Biology.

The experiment is also part of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Continuing Professional Development course: Chemistry for non-specialists