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Study how temperature affect the stretch of an elastic band

Suitable For

Grade 7



Time Required

 <12 Hours



What’s it about?

‘Polymers’ are compounds made of very long chains of molecules which often have ‘plastic’ or ‘rubber’ properties. An elastic band is made up of long polymer chains giving it its elastic properties. Apart from the fact that you can have a lot of fun shooting an elastic band across a classroom, they are quite fascinating in other ways too!

In this science experiment study the effect temperature has on polymeric substances such as a rubber band:

Topics covered

Polymer, Elastomer, Entropy

What will I need?

  • NAIL

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment the rubber band, unlike most other substances, expands when cooled and contracts when heated! Rubber contains polymers (a large molecule that is usually described as a spaghetti-like strand) and these polymers give the rubber its elastic property. Rubber is a type of ‘polymer’ called an ‘elastomer’. A property of a substance called ‘entropy’ determines whether a material expands or contracts when heated.

Entropy measures how ordered the molecules of a substance are arranged. When energy or ‘heat’ is added to most substances, it excites the molecules causing them to move around vigorously, and hence the substance expands. However, when a polymer chain is heated, only sections of the chains move around vigorously and the other ends of the chain have to make room for the movement. This can be demonstrated by moving a piece of cooked spaghetti around on a plate – The ends have to move closer together in order for the middle part to move further apart.

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