A Slimy Success How a sticky substance took over the world

Slime is all over the internet, in schools, and stuck on clothes. It’s encouraging STEM, and creating businesses. Parents hate it, kids love it, but what is it?

In the beginning of Time (Slime)

Our story goes back tens, of thousands, of days ago. Back to around 1976. It was the disco era, so obviously there were bright colors, frizzy hair, and all sorts of atrocious stuff. Of course, there had to be slime in the mix.

The gross green goo was first introduced by the company Mattel. Yes, they did also make Barbie, but we know that she would never touch slime. It was green, cold, and very sticky. Once you have stretched and squeezed to its full extent, you would return it to it’s “trash can”.

Of course, other brands had to contribute to the generation of goo, so they did. In the 80’s, there was “Hordak’s Horde Slime Pit” from the Masters of the Universe. To my knowledge, this game is violent and confusing. But Kenner, another toy company, made the “Real Ghostbusters” toy line. The literal slime was called Ecto-Plazm Play Gel. Originally purple and pink, the brand eventually added the primary colors to the line.

There are plenty of other brands that made slime, but those are just some of the old ones. Some of the current ones are Flarp Noise Putty, Silly Putty, and an abundance of others. Still, what is it?

Flarp! Noise putty

Science-- or Should I Say SLIMEnce?

No, no I should not.

Essentially, by combining guar gum and borax you can create slime. If that’s all you want to know, that’s okay. Usually, these names are not found on packaging, but by their scientific names. Guar gum is also known as polysaccharide, and borax is called sodium borate. This is why some people use eye drops as part of their slime solution. Eyedrops have sodium borate, which when mixed with glue (and occasionally baking soda) creates slime! The other option is borax, which can every so often be harmful when touched in powder form. There is much more about this, but it can get extremely confusing, so I’ll just stick to that.

Slime is a non-Newtonian fluid. This means that it’s viscosity (how hard it is to be poured, or how thick it is) can be affected by factors other than temperature. For instance, water is a Newtonian fluid, since it becomes ice and water vapor according to the temperature. Although oobleck is non-Newtonian as its viscosity changes when stress is applied.

There are two types of non-Newtonian fluids, shear thinning and shear thickening. Slime is considered to be shear thickening. This means that under stress, the substance thickens. That is why when pulled slowly, the slime stays intact; why stretched quickly, it will break.

Honey has a higher viscosity than vinegar, and that's why it's thicker

Slime in Current Time

There are over two million posts on instagram with the hashtag slime. There are tons of people selling slime-- that are children. The popularity of slime is increasing day by day, but why?

Nobody would watch someone play with slime just for the fun of it. They have to have a reason! That reason is called ASMR. ASMR is basically a feeling that you get when something (in slimes case) sounds satisfying. That is mostly the reason behind why people want to watch slime videos, as well as other satisfying video compilations.

There is so much slime, but where is it coming from? There are tons of slime businesses, whether it be your own, or someone you are buying from. Many slime business owners have been selling slime for around a 200% markup, and sometimes more! There is a wide range of slimes, and so many different recipes, that people just can get enough of! There is normal slime, fluffy slime, jiggly slime, butter slime, floam, and an abundance of others. There are also different “slime activators” like, borax, baking soda +contact solution, detergent, and many other things that you wouldn’t think to put in slime, so why wouldn’t you want to try making your own, or try making different recipes?

Why Slime is Changing the World

Slime is everyone’s new obsession (unless you are a parent), and it’s for a reason. Slime is a science experiment that isn’t boring. Kids actually want to make it, so they might as well learn about it in the process. So that’s it about slime, it’s made to have a good time.

Credits:

Created with images by pixthree - "Yin Yang" • brosner - "FLARP!"

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