Periodic Graphics: The chemistry of slime

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning wrings all the molecular details out of the popular goo

by Andy Brunning
June 13, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 25



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References used to create this graphic:

The gelation of polyvinyl alcohol with borax

The gelation of poly(vinyl alcohol) with Na2B4O7 10H2O

"Slime” may not be so benign: A cause of hand dermatitis

Polyvinyl alcohol-borax slime as promising polyelectrolyte for high-performance, easy-to-make electrochromic devices

Classic chemistry experiments: Polymer slime

A collaboration between C&EN and Andy Brunning, author of the popular graphics blog Compound Interest

To see more of Brunning’s work, go to To see all of C&EN’s Periodic Graphics, visit


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Lauren Wolf (June 22, 2018 12:26 PM)
NOTE: C&EN has received two notes from readers suggesting that the cross-linking chemistry depicted in this graphic is incorrect. There was also a suggestion that the structure for borax is incorrect. All of these pieces of information were taken from published sources. So we are currently investigating and will make a correction soon, if appropriate. Please stay tuned.

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