What is Thermochromism?
This slime gets its color changing super powers from thermochromic pigment. Thermochromic materials change colors when there is a change in temperature. Mood rings and lipstick use them. And so do those rubber duckies that tell you when the bath is too hot for baby.
There are two main types of thermochromic materials: liquid crystals and leuco dyes. In liquid crystals, temperature changes cause the crystals to move and change the spacing between them, which then causes light to refract at different wavelengths. Different wavelengths create different visible colors. (For more on that phenomenom, check out this Prism Play post.) Leuco dyes use a similar mechanism, but instead of changing the distance between crystals, temperature changes cause the dyes to change molecular structures. One form reflects colored light, the other colorless.
How Do You Play With the Thermochromic Slime?
This really was the fun part… Dreaming up ways to make the slime change color. Putting it on soda cans and coffee cups. Holding it with hands that have held an ice pack or heating pad. Breathing on it. Spinning it like a jump rope. (Really! It gets colder because of the air flow around it.) Using it as a thermometer (the pigments we used go clear at 71.6 ºF so we could tell whether it was hotter or colder than that.) Putting it in hot and cold water baths. So much fun!
You can watch the slime change color in this video!
Heat Sensitive Color Changing Slime Recipe
- Decide on your color scheme for the slime. The color of thermochromic pigment will be the color of the slime when it is cold. Then pick an alternating color of food coloring for the hot color. Think color wheel neighbors to make the transition smooth. I used:
- Blue pigment with yellow food coloring (Slime is teal and turns yellow when hot)
- Red pigment with yellow food coloring (Slime is orangey red and turns yellow when hot)
- Blue pigment with red food coloring (slime is purple and turns pink when hot)
- Pour 1/4 cup glue into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon water and stir until combined. Add 5 drop of food coloring and mix well. Then add 3 teaspoons of thermochromic pigment and mix until uniformly distributed.
- Add 1/8 cup liquid starch and mix until thick and slimy. Then knead the slime with your hands and return to the starch mixture for another mixing. This step is important because it makes sure there’s no unmixed glue hiding in the center of your slime ball. If slime is still sticky, add aditional starch, a little bit at a time, and knead until not sticky anymore. Most batches will use almost all of the starch.
- Store slime in a glass or plastic container with a lid for up to one month. I noticed that it needed a bit more starch if it had been a few days since playing with it. Just pour a teaspoon or so on the slime and knead it again.
Color Changing Play Dough
A bunch of you have been asking me, “Does this work with play dough?” YES! It does and it’s so cool.
The play dough recipe is just one of 52 amazing activities in my new book, STEAM Kids: 50+ Science | Technology | Engineering | Art | Math Hands-On Projects for Kids. Click on over to learn more! Or Looking for more fun ways to combine STE(A)M learning with sensory play? Try these other Left Brain Craft Brain projects: Follow our newsletter to hear about our newest projects for young engineers and learning loving grown-ups too! Or check out this cool resource — a whole year’s worth of STEAM Challenges!
Sensory Play STEM Learning
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Original article and pictures take http://leftbraincraftbrain.com/2015/04/23/heat-sensitive-color-changing-slime/ site
Looking for more fun ways to combine STE(A)M learning with sensory play? Try these other Left Brain Craft Brain projects:
Follow our newsletter to hear about our newest projects for young engineers and learning loving grown-ups too!
Or check out this cool resource — a whole year’s worth of STEAM Challenges!