Applied Science - Science and Math (6C)
Post Lab

   
OBJECTIVES:
  • Investigating fibers present in your home.
  • Constructing paper from lint.
VOCABULARY:
  • fiber
  • forensic
  • lint
  • paper
MATERIALS:
  • 2 types of lint (each the size of 3 cotton balls)
  • small mixing bowl
  • 2 cups of water
  • a fork
  • 100 ml of liquid laundry starch
  • a two-five 30 cm square of wire screening
  • a newspaper section of several sheets
  • a rolling pin
  • Swift GH microscope.

Students make paper.


BACKGROUND:

 Identifying fibers can be helpful to determine where the fabric came from.  This is part of forensic science that can help determine where a fiber may have originated from.  In this activity the students will learn about how paper is made, but they will also be able to identify the fibers that their household has.  Encourage students to bring lint from home so they can make paper from their own fibers.  You may want students to make the paper at home and then bring it in.  This is a messy activity, but fun!

 Discuss the process of paper-making, emphasizing that most paper is crushed together, and not woven like a fabric.  You may want to list the many paper products the students use everyday.  For instance, writing paper, toilet paper, paper towels, cardboard, newspaper, paper plates,  and many more.  This activity discusses how to make paper.  Follow the directions below.  Each student can make their own piece of paper.

PROCEDURE:
  1. Put lint in a bowl.  Cover the lint with water.  Beat the mixture with a fork and fingers.  Try to mix the lint and water as evenly as possible.  Then add the laundry starch and stir.
      
  2. Do this quickly, before the lint settles.  
      
  3. Dip one end of the wire screen into the water.  Slip the screen flat under the water's surface.  Then lift it out of the water, keeping it flat.  Allow most of the water to drain through.  It should be covered with an even layer of lint.  If it isn't, slip it back under the water's surface after stirring the mixture in the bowl with your hand.  Try again.
      
  4. The layer of lint fibers will become your paper.  Put the screen, fiber side up, on three or four sheets of folded newspaper.  Cover it with a few more sheets of folded newspaper.  Roll the pile with the rolling pin. You are squeezing the water out. Gently peel off the top layers of the newspaper.  Your sheet of lint paper should be sticking to it.  Let it dry.  Peel the newspaper off after it dries.  You now have a piece of paper. (Actually it looks more like cardboard.)  
      
  5. Go over the lab procedure carefully with students.  Stress that the lint must be evenly mixed and the importance of draining off the water as much as possible before placing the screen with the lint between the newspaper layers.  After the students look at the paper under the microscope, see if they can identify different types of fibers.  Remember if a household has cats or dogs their hair will be incorporated into the paper.

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