Skip to main content

Experiments with hydrogels – plant water storage crystals

Description

In this activity students investigate plant water storage crystals, a product that contains hydrogels – polymeric smart materials. The practical work is fun, and the results easy to see.

Credits

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



Apparatus Chemicals

Eye protection

Each working group requires:

Large ice cream tub or similar container (at least 1 dm3)

Beakers (250 cm3), 3

Dessert spoon or similar measure

White paper - to place under beakers to see what is happening more easily

Stirring rods, 3

Petri dishes – lids not required, 2

Access to:

Sieve (the plastic ones used for sifting flour are fine) or large funnel and either paper towels or filter paper

Tea strainer (only required if a funnel is used earlier, otherwise the sieve can be used again)

Each working group requires:

Water crystals, about 100 cm3

Either strong tea, 500 cm3, or a few drops of food colouring (optional)

Sodium chloride (table salt) solution, very concentrated or saturated, 200 cm3

Distilled water, 400 cm3

Sugar, 1 spoonful

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

 









Page last updated October 2015

In this activity students investigate plant water storage crystals, a product that contains hydrogels – polymeric smart materials. The practical work is fun, and the results easy to see.

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