Using Greener Gels To Explore Rheology

Brendan Garrett, Avtar S. Matharu, Glenn A. Hurst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A laboratory experiment was developed to investigate the rheological properties of a green calcium-cross-linked alginate gel as an alternative to the traditional borax-cross-linked poly(vinyl alcohol) gel. As borax is suspected of damaging fertility and the unborn child, a safe, green alternative is necessary. The rheological properties of a sodium alginate solution were examined as a function of temperature using capillary viscometry. Gelation and degelation processes were followed using rotational viscometry. The non-Newtonian shear-thinning properties were also exemplified by determining the viscosity as a function of spindle speed using the rotational viscometer. Students making the transition from a first- to second-year undergraduate chemistry program within a natural sciences degree have successfully conducted this laboratory experiment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-504
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • Colloids
  • Green Chemistry
  • Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives
  • Materials Science
  • Physical Properties
  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Second-Year Undergraduate

Cite this