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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth

Super Absorbant Polymer Experiment

Insta-Snow – Erupting Snow Polymer is a real crowd pleaser!

Just add water to the Insta-Snow powder and watch as the liquid magically changes into fluffy snow!

Insta-Snow is derived from the superabsorbent polymer found in baby diapers. The only difference (and it’s a big one) is that the Insta-Snow polymer not only absorbs water, but the long chains of molecules swell to an enormous size. The polymer soaks up water using osmosis (water molecules pass through a barrier from one side to the other). When water comes in contact with the polymer, it moves from outside the polymer to the inside and causes it to swell. The polymer chains have an elastic quality, but they can stretch only so far and hold just so much water.

The Insta-Snow reaction is an excellent example of a physical reaction where the substance itself does not change. When an ice cube melts, a physical reaction occurs where the solid ice turns into a liquid, but the substance (water) never changes – it’s still water! However, in a chemical reaction, a new substance is formed, and energy is either given off or absorbed.

If you think of the Insta-Snow powder as millions of tiny sponges, it’s easy to see that neither the Insta-Snow powder or the water was changed. If you allow the water to evaporate, the Insta-Snow powder dries out and returns to its previous state, ready to be used again.

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