Water gel crystals, also known as water jelly crystals and superabsorbent polymer, are able to absorb up to 400 times their weight in water. Place 1 teaspoon (4g) of these small 2-4mm crystals in a quart of water, let it sit overnight, pour off the excess water and you will have over 2 cups of beautiful, large 1-2" jelly-like clear crystals. By adding food coloring to the water, you can change the color of your water gel crystals! You get a 4 oz. package (112g) of 2-4mm crystals which is enough to make about 14 gallons of fully hydrated water gel crystals.
The super absorbent polymer in water gel crystals has many uses. It is used in landscaping and agriculture to help retain soil water in dry climates, it is used for environment spill cleanup, it is used as an oil well drilling fluid, and it is even used to make soft contact lenses, to name just a few. Water gel crystals are also used around the home to improve water retention in potted plants, add a decorative touch to vases of cut flowers, and create floating candle arrangements. However, it's the cool scientific uses of water gel crystals that get us excited! Here are just a few examples: they can be used for hydroponics (growing plants without soil), studying root growth by planting seeds in a clear container filled with water gel, and experimenting with diffusion, absorption, and refraction. They are also useful to provide a clean water source for pet reptiles and insects.
These water gel crystals are a cross-linked acrylamide and potassium polyacrylate co-polymer. It is non-toxic but should be handled carefully as with all chemicals. Use water gel crystals carefully once contacted with water as they are extremely slippery. For best results use distilled water.
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