Unveiling the Mystery of Crystal Babies

In summary, Crystal Babies are a popular item among Taiwan students and are made of acrylic-based polymers that have been modified with salt groups. When placed in water, they swell to their original size or larger, resembling the process of giving birth. They do not merge again after dividing. Other polymers, such as sulfonated starches and acrylamides, can also exhibit similar properties but care should be taken as unreacted monomers can be toxic.
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Hi there, this is my first ever post in PF.
Have you heard of crystal babies?
They have been very popular among Taiwan students.
And I have googled some information and some people said they consisted of "arcrylate polymers". They also said they are similar to Magic/Crystal Soil.
Would anyone tell me what actually are "arcrylate polymers"?
Any how can the Crystal Babies "divide" and "merge"?
Thanks a lot!
 
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  • #2
If these are indeed acrylic-based polymers, then the polymer has been modified with salt groups like sulfonate groups. The polymer is a lightly crosslinked (perhaps 0.1% level) sulfonated acrylic polymer extruded into beads before crosslinking. After drying, the tiny beads occupy much less space and when re-hydrated swell to their original size or larger depending on the ionic strength of the aqueous solution they are placed within. If the water used is tap or distilled, the balls can swell to the point of fracture. This phenomenon of division is seen by some as being similar to giving birth. After they 'divide' they do not 'merge' again... that just wouldn't be right!

Other polymers can do the same thing, by the way. Sulfonated starches have been used in this manner as have sulfonated acrylamides, which are usually the polymers associated with the artificial soil products. Unreacted monomers (both acrylic and acrylamide) are toxic and testing needs to be done on these things to see if the degree of polymerization is complete enough to be called 'safe'. Don't stick them in your mouth! Wash your hands after handling them if you are unsure.
 
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Hello, thank you for your post. I am familiar with the concept of crystal babies and their popularity among students in Taiwan. From what I have researched, crystal babies are made from a type of polymer called acrylate polymers. These polymers are commonly used in a variety of products, including diapers and contact lenses. They are known for their ability to absorb water and expand in size.

In terms of how crystal babies are able to "divide" and "merge," it is likely due to the properties of the acrylate polymers. When exposed to water, these polymers can expand and absorb the liquid, causing the crystal babies to grow in size. As the water evaporates, the polymer crystals shrink and can appear to "divide" or break apart. When placed in water again, they can "merge" back together as the polymers absorb the water and expand once more.

It is important to note that crystal babies are not living organisms and do not have the ability to truly divide or merge like living cells. They are simply reacting to their environment due to the properties of the polymers they are made from.

I hope this helps to provide some insight into the mystery of crystal babies. Thank you for your interest in this topic!
 

1. What are crystal babies?

Crystal babies are a type of mineral formation that resembles a small human or animal figure. They are created when mineral-rich water drips or flows over a surface and gradually forms layers of minerals, resulting in a crystal-like structure.

2. How are crystal babies formed?

Crystal babies are formed through a process called mineralization. This occurs when water with a high concentration of dissolved minerals comes into contact with a surface, such as a cave wall or rock. As the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind and gradually build up, forming the shape of a crystal baby.

3. Are crystal babies alive or man-made?

Crystal babies are not alive and are not man-made. They are a natural occurrence and are formed through natural processes. However, some people believe that they possess spiritual or healing properties.

4. Where can I find crystal babies?

Crystal babies can be found in various locations such as caves, mines, and other geological formations. They are most commonly found in areas with high mineral content and where water has a chance to interact with the surface over a long period of time.

5. What is the scientific significance of crystal babies?

Crystal babies are significant to scientists as they provide insight into the geological and chemical processes that occur in nature. Studying crystal babies can also help us better understand the formation of other mineral structures and provide clues about the Earth's history and evolution.

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