100 Days Project

Nanogirl: Star Science

Nanogirl wants to find 100 friends to do science experiments with her to prove that no matter who you are or what your education level, you can always have fun with science.

Day 24:

Blake and his incredible shrinking experiment!

Honey, I shrunk the bag!

Blake managed to shrink an empty balloon bag just by putting it in a hot oven for 2 minutes.  This clever science experiment happens because plastics are made up of long chain-like molecules called polymers, which I always think look like strands of spaghetti. When the bags are manufactured, the polymer chains are warmed up and stretched out so the spaghetti strands are straight, this makes the bag shape which is then cooled so that the chains are frozen in place.  Heating up the bag in the oven gives the polymer chains enough energy to move and they curl and coil up which is where they prefer to be.  This causes the bag to reduce in size as curly chains are shorter than straight ones.  Once the bag is removed from the oven and cooled down, the chains freeze in their new coiled shape and the bag is smaller than before.