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Talk About a Bad Hair Day! *

Time Required Short (2-5 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.


Did you know that you can make a simple hygrometer (a device for measuring the relative humidity of the air) with hair? This type of hygrometer is easy to build (for instructions, see: http://www.fi.edu/weather/todo/hygrometer.html). Does the type of hair used in the hygrometer affect the accuracy of the results? Do some types of hair respond faster than others? Do some types of hair give a larger (or smaller) response? You could get hair samples from classmates, or a local beauty shop. Use hair samples of equal length to construct each hygrometer. To force changes in humidity, put a hygrometer in an air-tight container (e.g., a sealed refrigerator dish). To raise the humidity in the container, add an open cup of water. To lower the humidity, use an open container of dessicant. For each trial, keep the hygrometer in the container until the reading stabilizes. Conduct at least three trials with each hygrometer (more is better) to assure yourself that your results are consistent. (Nelson, 2004) Just think: after you do this project you'll know an instant hair-shortening treatment for next time Mom says it's time for a haircut! ;-)

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Science Buddies Staff. "Talk About a Bad Hair Day!" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/MatlSci_p035.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Talk About a Bad Hair Day!. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/MatlSci_p035.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30


Nelson, M.L., 2004. "Does Hair Type Affect Hygrometer Results?" California State Science Fair Project Abstract [accessed April 26, 2006] http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2004/Projects/J1130.pdf.

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