The alginate worms are a fun way to explore polymers. They are slimy but edible. Make sure to wash your hands and clean all the needed materials before starting this experiment in your kitchen!
2.4 g of sodium alginate
5 g calcium chloride
a few drops of food coloring
measuring cup (1 cup)
Prepare the Alginate solution
- Place a cup of water and a few drops of food coloring in a bowl.
- Slowly add the alginate powder in the bowl of water. Using a hand mixer mix thoroughly.
- Set aside the alginate solution for an hour to remove the bubbles from solution.
Prepare the Calcium bath
- Place 2 cups of water in a bowl.
- Add the calcium chloride to the bowl and stir to dissolve.
Make the Alginate Worms
- Draw the alginate solution into the syringe.
- Squirt the alginate solution into the calcium bath
- Start playing with your edible alginate worms
How are the Worms Formed?
Sodium alginate is a polymer: a large molecule made of many identical smaller molecules. Sodium alginate in solution has sodium and alginate ions. We add it to a solution of calcium chloride, which contains calcium and chloride ions. Calcium attaches to alginate molecules to make calcium alginate, an insoluble gel. A slimy (but edible) worm! Some acid reflux medicines (e.g Gaviscon) use calcium alginate to form a protective gel in your tummy!Aren’t polymers amazing?