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Physical Properties of Water

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Water is a Glue!!

Why is paper mache possible using only water and paper? 

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

An example of a work done by paper mache. [Figure1]

Water, as we know it, is perhaps the most important substance for all living organisms. Its intermolecular attractions such as hydrogen bonding allow it to have certain unique properties such as surface tension, cohesion, adhesion, the ability to act as a solvent, and a high boiling point.

It works just as well for paper. In paper mache, the water serves to function as a glue, combining multiple scraps of paper together. Eventually, it is able to turn ordinary scraps of paper into a remarkable sculpture.

Creative Applications

1. Explain the chemistry behind water being able to serve as a glue in paper mache with reference to specific properties.

2. For a history project, you needed to stick scraps of paper to build a bull head. Your mom wants to take you to Office Depot to buy some glue. However, you just learned about the properties of water in your chemistry class. How would you respond?

3. In what way would you convince your mother that water is all you need?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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