In this article, I'm going to share an incredible experiment I did at home: paper recycling. As a lover of chemistry experiments, this activity was a real treat for me. I'll break down the process step by step, from the materials needed to the science behind this fascinating transformation. Let's go!
Note: This experiment was carried out by the “Manual do Mundo” channel. For more experiments and tips, you can visit the online channel. The video will be available at the end of the article.
Before starting, it is important to gather all the materials needed for the paper recycling process at home. You will need:
- Old paper (magazines, newspapers, unused toilet paper)
- Screen (can be a t-shirt printing screen or improvised with a sieve)
- Large basin (to accommodate the screen)
The Recycling Step by Step
Now that we have all the materials, let's move on to the recycling process:
1. Preparing the Paper
Start by tearing the paper into small pieces, approximately the same size. Then place the pieces in a bucket and cover them with water. Let this mixture sit for at least three days, allowing the paper fibers to loosen.
2. Transforming into Paste
After the rest period, the paper will almost fall apart. Now, it's time to turn it into a folder. Use a blender to shred the paper, adding it little by little so as not to overload the appliance. Then, pour the paste into a large basin, adding water until the mixture is about 10 centimeters deep.
3. Creating the Paper Sheets
This is the most interesting moment of the process. Place the screen in the water and stir so the fibers spread evenly. Then lift the screen and watch the sheets of paper form. It's fascinating to see the transformation happen before your eyes!
After removing the sheets of paper from the water, place them in an airy place to dry. This process usually takes at least a day.
The Science Behind Paper Recycling
You may be wondering how paper is torn, softened, shredded, and then put back together again. The answer lies in the natural glue present in paper, which is found in cellulose. Cellulose is a large molecule made up of several smaller molecules that are repeated in paper. These cellulose molecules come together to form paper fibers.
At the beginning of the process, these fibers come loose, but, due to the hydrogen bonds between them, they end up coming together again. Hydrogen bonds are attractive forces that occur when a hydrogen atom in one molecule bonds with a fluorine, nitrogen, or oxygen atom in the same or an adjacent molecule. These hydrogen bonds act as a kind of glue that allows the paper to pull itself together.
It is interesting to note that hydrogen bonds also occur between water molecules, which provides water's strong surface tension.
In addition to recycling paper, you can add a personal touch to your recycled paper. Try adding pieces of torn fabric to give it a unique texture. Another interesting idea is to look for dried leaves or flowers to incorporate into the paper, providing different colors and patterns.
Finally, if you like crafts, you can explore the artistic side of paper recycling by creating paper mache and decorating it in a special way.
Paper recycling is an educational and environmentally friendly activity that also reveals some of the fascinating principles of chemistry. Try it at home and have fun exploring this sustainable and creative art!
As promised, here is the channel video!