Turn Milk into Plastic

Before You Start

 

ACTIVE TIME:
30-45 minutes

TOTAL PROJECT TIME:
1-2 days

KEY CONCEPTS:
plastic, polymers, monomers, milk, casein

Introduction

 

Have you ever heard that plastic can be made out of milk? If this sounds like something made-up to you, you may be surprised to learn that from the early 1900s until about 1945, milk was commonly used to make many different plastic ornaments, including buttons, decorative buckles, beads and other jewelry, fountain pens, the backings for hand-held mirrors, and fancy comb and brush sets. Milk plastic (usually called casein plastic) was even used to make jewelry for Queen Mary of England! In this activity you will make your own casein plastic out of hot milk and vinegar.

stem download Turn Milk into Plastic

Credits

 

Teisha Rowland, PhD, Science Buddies
Sandra Sultz, PhD, Science Buddies

 

This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,150 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

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