The Chemistry of Silly String

Introduction

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Silly String is most popularly known as a toy today and can be purchased almost at every store, but have you ever wondered where silly string comes from? Well look no further. In this project I will be going into detail about the chemistry of silly string.

Composition of ...

One of the main components of silly string is the string and what the string is made out of. Without the silly string substances within the can the chemicals would not be able to react ad project they way they do when being shot out of the can.

 

  • Silly string is a liquid inside a aerosol can, which when sprayed outside the can is light and is minorly adhesive, also it is cohesive, unless mangled apart.

  • Silly string is most of the time really is to clean up.

  • The skin of the string is flexible

  • The skin and foam of the silly string come from three main ingredients such as resin, poly isobutyl, and methacrylate.

  • The propellent is explained as dichlorodifluoromethane also called Freon-12

  • Freon is an ozone depleting substance

  • Other ingredients include plasticizer, silicone liquid, pigment, and flame retardant.


Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Silly String Liquid

The Silly String Liquid contains Poly acrylic Resin, which gives the silly string its durable structure,”Polymerized Plastic”, which then is inserted into the aerosol can as a powdery substance. When the aerosol can is activated and the plastic is shot into the air, it forms an exoskeleton, which maintains the structure of the Silly String. Now the actual composition of the string is comprised of “Talc”, which when listing the elements is Magnesium, Silicon, and Oxygen. When propelled the “Talc” forms a resin substance filling the stings as it expands into the shape of the Aerosol cans Nozzle. Now the Isopropyl Alcohol helps from having bugs grow inside the Aerosol can, and the Ammonia raises the Ph level enough so the metal interior of the canister does not Corrode.

 

 

 Pressure in the Aerosol Can

The pressure is one of the most vital parts in the Silly String canister. The pressure within the canister includes the chemical compound Freon-12, which is also known as dichlorodifluoromethane. The chemical equation for Freon-12 is CCl2F2. The pressure within the canister, is activated when the nozzle on top of the canister is pressed down, when doing so the nozzle then presses down on the spring, which occurs in the pressure escaping through the tube inside the canister,resulting in the pressure escaping the Aerosol can. Without the pressure inside the Aerosol can, the Silly String Liquid would not able to escape through the opening of the Nozzle, let alone travel up the tube. When the pressure is released the pressure hen carries the Silly String Liquid up with it through the tube inside the canister, and then the Silly String Liquid begins to react when coming into contact with Oxygen.



Chemistry's Role

The two main components of Silly String are made with chemical combination and pressurization. Silly Sting is made in a lab, by inserting the liquid chemical components within the canister as well as filling up the Aerosol cans pressure. The final product of Silly String is man made, and chemistry plays the entire part in Silly String from the process and elements to the engineeringing the canister and what components are used and the the functions of all the pieces and elements involved with Silly String.

Background Research

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1e7KJ9v7UY0AVg8kb8MbzdnjX0poIDdKRR_4xtOtW5Xs/edit

 

Aerosol can parts

 

Valve- controls the amount of product that comes out of the can.

 

activator- the spray button which allows the user to activate aerosol system in the can.

 

Valve cup-metal cup at the top of the canister part of the aerosol can, which holds sealing materials that keep in all the substances that are in the aerosol can, also holds all the valve components.

 

Stem- the connection between the spring and the activator.

 

Stem gasket- seals opening around valve stem, making it airlight.

 

Spring-holds the pressure in, and upon activation the spring will then release the pressure through the seal.

 

Housing- the cylinder that holds the spring and connects to the valve assembly.

 

Dip tube- a  hollow tube that that connects from the valve, and is extended to the bottom of the canister part of the aerosol can, which when the pressure is released the substances within the can shoot through the hollow tube and out through the valve.


Resources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silly_String

  • Accidently created by leonard A. Fish, an inventor and Robert P. Cox, a chemist

  • Originally was supposed to be a foaming agent from an aerosol that an individual can spray on broken/sprained arm or leg and initially creating an instant cast.

  • Creators story of partnering with wham-o

  • U.S. and british Military use silly string as a tool for locating tripwire and other booby traps

https://www.google.com/patents/US3705669?dq=3705669#PPA2,M1

  • Background description suggests that in order to be a satisfactory “Article” for children and their imaginary mind the “Article” must be nontoxic, harmless, and non flammable in the hands of children, easy to use, therefore being a safe and simple toy for children to use.

http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/silly-string1.htm

  • Silly string is a liquid inside a aerosol can, which when sprayed outside the can is light and is minorly adhesive, also it is cohesive, unless mangled apart.

  • Silly string is most of the time really is to clean up.

  • The skin of the string is flexible

  • The skin and foam of the silly string come from three main ingredients such as resin, poly isobutyl, and methacrylate.

  • The propellent is explained as dichlorodifluoromethane also called Freon-12

  • Freon is an ozone depleting substance

  • Other ingredients include plasticizer, silicone liquid, pigment, and flame retardant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosol_spray

  • Only some propellent evaporates in the aerosol can to maintain a constant pressure

  • Idea of aerosol goes back to 1790

  • The first aerosol can patent was granted to oslo in 1927 to Erik Rotheim, a norwegian chemical engineer.

  • Modern aerosol cans consist of three main parts, the can, the valve, and the actuator or button if you will.The can is most commonly made of lacquered tinplate, or in other word steel with a layer of tin, and possibly two or three other metals put together.

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/aerosolcans.html

  • .Aerosol is not aerosol, but a cloud of liquid and gas that is dispensed from an aerosol can

  • Candles make aerosol.

  • Environmentally friendly cans these days are mostly made of plastic instead of tin.

  • Plastic also included to tight seal any leaks from the aerosol cans

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-serious-use-for-silly-string/

  • New jersey plans to send more than a thousand cans of silly string to iraq

  • Two church´s and a pilot participate in the getting the thousand cans of silly string to iraq

  • Neon colored silly string

  • CBS news tell story

https://www.wired.com/2015/10/whats-inside-silly-string/

  • Polyacrylic Resin

  • Talc

  • Isopropyl Alcohol

  • Ammonia


About the Author
Isaiah Welk is a junior at Billings Senior High School. He enjoys learning new things and takes education very serious and will attend MSU-Billings in two years to explore as many different areas of knowledge as possible. He is on the Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.7 and is a proud member of Key Club.







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