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Cornstarch is an example of a polymer. Polymers are long strains of molecules that keep repeating and have different properties of the original single molecule group. A single section of a polymer is called a monomer. It resembles the simplest form of the repeating portion of the entire polymer. These polymers may get stretched when you make a mixture such as cornstarch and water. This mixture behaves a certain way. There are many theories on why this may occur. One theory is because the strands get tangled, making it hard for them to slide against each other. Stretched molecules would offer more resistance to movement, like the resistance of a stretched rubber band. However, this argument does explain why rapid motion (stirring, shaking, etc.) increases viscosity, which is the property of a fluid that offers resistance to flow.
Cornstarch and water is a non-Newtonian, organic fluid. Fluids can fall under different sub groups. They are either Non-Newtonian or Newtonian. They can also be either organic or non organic. NonNewtonian Fluids are a group of liquids that change viscosity when they are stirred, shaken, or otherwise agitated. Cornstarch and water acts differently depending on whether it is still or agitated. This kind of fluid is called a dilatant. It becomes more viscous (has a relatively high resistance to flow) when agitated or compressed. The viscosity of a non-Newtonian fluid is also dependent
on temperature. Cornstarch would decrease in viscosity if put in a boiling pot (it would become thinner). Examples of Newtonian fluids include motor oils, mineral oils, gasoline, kerosene, and most salt solutions in water.
The most popular explanation for the behavior of cornstarch and water is that when sitting still, the tiny grains of starch are surrounded by water. The surface tension of the water keeps it from completely flowing out of the spaces between the grains. The lubrication of water allows the granules to move freely. However, if the movement is abrupt (shaking, stirring, poking, slapping, etc.)