In this science experiment we will explore super absorbent polymers and light refraction. In the
process we will make some really cool polymer water balls that appear magically when
scooped out of water and simply vanish when we drop them back into the water.
Materials For Vanishing Water Balls Experiment:
- Packet of Clear Water Pearls
- Distilled Water
- Clear Bowl or Container
Vanishing Water Balls Experiment Video
Process for Vanishing Water Ball Experiment:
1) Purchase a pack of super absorbent polymer clear water pearls (link to product above).
2) Get a large bowl and fill with distilled water.
3) Pour the clear water pearl seeds into the bowl of distilled water. The pearl seeds start off
about 1/8 of an inch and will absorb water becoming around 3/4 inches.
4) Allow the super absorbent polymer clear pearl seeds to sit for a few hours and grow.
5) Dip your hand into the bottom of the bowl and scoop up some water. Magically the water balls
will appear as you take your hand out of the water.
6) Drop the water balls back into the water and they vanish becoming invisible to the eye!
The Science Behind The Vanishing Water Ball Experiment
The clear water pearls are super absorbent polymers that can hold up 300 times their original
weight in water. Polymers are individual molecules linked together to form long chains of
molecules. Anything made of plastic is a form of a polymer. When there is no water in the bowl,
you can see objects (like the clear water pearls) inside the bowl perfectly . This occurs because
rays of light scatter as they hit the objects in the bowl making them visible. After the clear water
pearls absorb and fill with water they become invisible once submerged in water. This happens
because the water filled clear pearls have the same index of refraction as the water itself. As you
remove the pearls from the water light refracts against the pearls making them visible. As you
drop them back in the water, the index of refraction for the pearls becomes the same as the
water making them vanish! Clear Water Pearls go by many names, jelly marbles, clear
spheres, water balls, water crystals.
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