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Hair gel collapse


The hair gel collapse experiment demonstrates a use of hydrogels; a network of polymer chains that are capable of containing a large volume of water. Upon addition of table salt, this bound water is removed from the structure followed by collapse of the polymer chain network. This experiment is analogous to Nappy Powder that can also be found on the website.

Suggested teaching points

  • Roles and applications of plastics / polymers
  • States of matter
  • Investigative techniques

This file contains a set of detailed instructions, suggested questions, suggested improvements and disposal procedures for this experiment.

(PDF Document) Hair gel collapse experiment instructions

Before attempting this experiment, please ensure that you have read the safety section in the document above and performed a complete risk assessment. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please use these forms.