Science Project:

Glue Strength Comparison: Homemade Casein Glue and Commercial Glue

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Problem

Compare the holding strength of a sample of homemade casein glue to that of several commercial glues.

Research Questions:

  • How is the casein (protein) separated from the milk?
  • Did the casein glue perform as anadhesive?
  • What was the maximum bonding strength for the homemade casein glue?
  • Which commercial glue(s) displayed more adhesive or bonding strength then the casein glue?
  • Which commercial glue(s) displayed less adhesive or bonding strength then the casein glue?
  • Was the holding power of homemade casein glue comparable to that of the commercial glues?

Materials

  • Skim milk
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Measuring cup
  • Heat proof container
  • Tablespoons
  • Coffee filter
  • Small plastic funnel
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Small paper or plastic cups
  • Masking tape
  • String
  • Large bowl
  • Kitchen food scale or a digital bathroom scale
  • 4 or more commercial white glues: Scotch® Quick Drying Tacky White Glue, Elmer’s All Multipurpose White Glue®, Amos® White Craft Glue, Blick® Multi-Purpose White Glue.
  • Safety goggles
  • Apron
  • Gloves

  1. Heat a pint (half a liter) of skim milk and add six tablespoons (90 ml) of vinegar slowly, stirring constantly.
  2. When it begins to curdle, remove from heat.
  3. Continue stirring until the curdling stops. Let sit until the curds have all settled to the bottom.
  4. Filter the solid (curds) from the liquid (whey) using a coffee filter placed in a funnel.
  5. Gently press the filter paper around the curds to squeeze out the excess liquid (whey).
  6. Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water and a tablespoon (15 ml) of baking soda to neutralize the vinegar. When the bubbling stops, the white casein glue is ready for use.
  7. Glue 2 wooden Popsicle sticks together end to end using the casein glue as shown.
popsicle stick
  1. Repeat the same procedure using the other glues. Allow the glues to harden over night.
  2. Place one end the glued Popsicle sticks between a set of books or between two chairs.
  3. Pour a small amount of water into several cups corresponding to the number glues to be tested.
  4. Weigh the cups with asmall kitchen food scale or a digital bathroom scale and record the weight on a paper.
  5. Using masking tape attach string across the top of each cup.
  6. Suspend the cups with strings attached over ends of Popsicle sticks.
  7. Place a large bowl underneath to catch any water that might spill.
  8. Follow this same procedure for each glued stick increasing the amounts of water until the glue bonds are broken.
  9. Record the results in a table similar to the one shown.
Name & Type of Glue

Maximum Weight Supported (grams or ounces)

Casein Homemade Glue

Scotch® Quick Drying Tacky White Glue

Elmer’s All Multipurpose White Glue®

Amos® White Craft Glue

Blick® Multi-Purpose White Glue
Author: Mike Calhoun
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