Electric Play Dough (Insulator)

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Electric Play Dough (Insulator)

Postby thebraino » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:08 pm

I'm using the Electric Play Dough project in a fourth grade art room.
My insulation worked fine the first day, but the subsequent day it acted as a conductor. I made a new batch last night, and the new batch also conducted today (we just used paper instead).

Is there something of flour, sugar, veg. oil and distilled water that would cause it to become conductive overnight? Or is the evaporated lemon/salt mixture just extremely potent? It's become a bit of a hair-puller since my final student-teacher observation takes place tomorrow.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or replacement ideas!

Edit:
Referenced project link-
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Elec_p073.shtml#procedure
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Re: Electric Play Dough (Insulator)

Postby rmarz » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:00 am

thebraino - I've not experimented with this project, but I see nothing in the formula for the 'insulating' recipe that would make this dough conductive. Obviously the addition of salt and lemon juice in the 'conductive' dough provides the ionizing ingredients to conduct through the moist dough. Is there a possibility that your insulating batch somehow became contaminated with the lemon juice, salt or any other ingredient? I'm not a cooking expert, but could the flour used have any other enriching agents like salt, sodium chloride, calcium chloride or sodium bicarbonate that could make it behave differently (at least in an electrical sense)? Perhaps other experts that might have more understanding of this experiment can help.

Rick Marz
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