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When the atoms in different kinds of molecules come together they can form a chemical bond. This happens when some of the electrons from each kind of atom have an attraction to each other so they stick together. In this experiment you will be able to see a chemical bond. Dye made from kool aid and vinegar will make a bond, or “stick” to the fabric of a cotton t-shirt.
Some chemical bonds are strong and the two substances really stick to each other. Some chemical bonds are weak. The chemical bond between kool-aid/vinegar and the t-shirt is weak. The vinegar added to the kool-aid is called a mordant. A mordant is a substance that helps dye stick to fabric. The kool-aid/vinegar dye will make a weak chemical bond so your shirt will fade over time. The chemical bond in a permanent dye is strong – shirts dyed with this kind of dye stay bright for a long time. After you practice with kool-aid, THEN try a more permanent dye.
NOTE: Even though the kool-aid/vinegar dye is weak…you should still do this OUTSIDE! The kool-aid/vinegar dye will stay on your fingers and especially your fingernails for a day or so unless you wash them really good. (So…it would also stay for awhile on your clothes or the carpet in your house!) My dog licked the bowl of blue kool-aid/vinegar dye and it turned her tongue blue. She also splashed some on her foot. The next day her tongue was not blue anymore put the fur on her paw was!
- T-shirt/Sock/Towel – Anything Made From Cotton
- Kool Aid Packets
- Several Bowls
- Measuring Cups
- Rubber Bands
Science Experiment Idea: Try dying three identical shirts with kool aid using different amounts of vinegar. Which mixture made the darkest color? Which mixture lasted the longest?
Website that give you good directions for Kool Aid Tie Dye:
- Try Science Kool Colors Experiment: Kool Aid Tie Dye
- Craft Project: Tie Dye With Kool Aid
- More Kool Aid Tie Dye Recipes
Words to Know:
Atoms – The smallest, most basic unit of matter. An atom is made up of a nucleus surrounded by electrons.
Molecules - At least two atoms held together by a chemical bond.
Chemical Bonds - An attraction between atoms so that the atoms stick together. The attraction happens because the two kinds of atoms have opposite charges. Some kinds of chemical bonds are really strong and some are weak.
Mordant – a substance that is used to set dyes on fabric. It helps make the chemical link or bond so that the dye will not wash out.