Flubber is one of the most intriguing of substances, which is what makes learning how to make flubber so much fun. It is a silicon polymer that when handled gently exhibits a gooey disposition, allowing it to run and creep over hands, onto tables, and puddle on the floor like a liquid. This behavior is known as visco-plastic behavior. But when under sudden stress, it will stretch and deform like a solid. This dual mode behavior classifies it as a Maxwell solid, meaning it has both viscous and elastic properties.
Flubber’s classification as a physical curiosity has led it to be a mainstay of high school physics and chemistry labs around the world. Millions have played with the substance also known as “Gloop” and have been mystified by its perplexing behavior, while at the same time learning about Maxwell’s equations relating to stress, deformation, elasticity and strain in materials.
Recipe for Flubber with Borax
Fortunately, one does not need to have access to a chemistry lab in order to obtain Flubber. In fact, Flubber can be made from substances that are readily available to the average household. The recipe for Flubber with borax is as follows:
- Warm water
- 1 Cup White glue (Elmer’s)
- 2 Tsp Borax
- Food coloring (optional)
In a glass or metal bowl combine 3/4 cup of warm water and 1 cup of white glue. Mix well.
In another glass or metal bowl combine 2 teaspoons Borax and 1/2 cup warm water, along with any desired food coloring.
Mix both bowls together. Continue mixing until approximately 1 teaspoon of fluid is left. Lift out the ball of Flubber and let the excess fluid drip off.
Congratulations…you’ve made Flubber! (It should be noted that if the ratio of water is increased in the above recipe, another wonderful substance…Slime…is created.)
The resulting Flubber will keep for about three weeks if covered and stored in the refrigerator…and be careful, it is not edible. When the Flubber is ready to be thrown away, please do not dispose of it by attempting to rinse it down the sink. Doing so will allow the Flubber to set up in your drainage pipes and cause a definite call to the plumber. To dispose of Flubber, simply place the used Flubber in a plastic bag and place it in the household trash.
Metamucil Recipe for Flubber
In case you’re wondering, if Flubber accidentally gets on carpet or other fabrics, place a vinegar soaked towel over the area to dissolve and de-gel the area and then wash with detergent and warm water.
Another recipe for Flubber is as follows:
- 1 tsp Metamucil or similar soluble fiber
- 8 oz water
- microwave-safe bowl
- microwave oven
- food coloring (optional)
1) Mix the Metamucil and water together in the bowl.
2) Microwave the resulting mixture until the fluid begins to bubble and is almost ready to bubble out of the bowl.
3) Turn off the microwave and let the mixture cool slightly.
4) Then turn the microwave back on once again, allowing the mixture to bubble.
5) Repeat this process 5 or 6 times and then carefully pour the heated mixture onto a surface to cool.
Both recipes have their drawbacks as far as safety is concerned. On the one hand, the first recipe uses borax, which can be harmful if swallowed or gets in the eyes. However, the second recipe uses a microwave to boil the ingredients and yields a mixture that is extremely hot and can cause serious burn injuries if it comes into contact with flesh. So the Flubber chef should evaluate the situation and make a determination based on safety. If small children are involved, it would probably be best to use recipe one and leave recipe two to high school students.