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Civil Engineering Project Ideas

Science Fair Project Idea
Here's a fun project idea to learn about compression forces. For this experiment you'll need some empty toilet paper tubes, masking tape, sand (or table salt), pebbles (or marbles), a funnel, a cardboard box, and a sturdy chair to help you balance while testing the column. Seal one end of the tube with masking tape. Use the funnel to fill the tube with sand (or salt). Seal the other end with tape. Place the tube on end inside the paper box. Place the chair with its back to the box and hold… Read more
CE_p015
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Suspension bridges, with their tall towers, long spans, and gracefully curving cables, are beautiful examples of the work of civil engineers. How do the cables and towers carry the load that is on the bridge? Can a suspension bridge carry a greater load than a simple beam bridge? This science project shows you how to find out. Read more
CE_p007
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Predict how tall you can build a tower using only two sheets of newspaper as building material. You can't use tape, glue, staples, or anything else, just two sheets of newspaper. You can tear, bend, cut, or fold the newspaper. Try it out and see how close you can come to your prediction. Can you beat your prediction? As you're building, you may come up with ideas to make a better tower. Try them out! (It's not like the materials are expensive!) Here are some variations you might want to… Read more
CE_p016
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever been in an earthquake? What did it feel like? Did you jiggle back and forth? Up and down? Was there a jolt? Or a rolling motion? Come build a house Hansel and Gretel would love to eat, a special table to shake it on, and see how different soil types can amplify shaking. Read more
CE_p023
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Children who are allergic to peanuts should substitute a safe alternative for the peanut butter.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever looked up at a skyscraper and thought "That is so cool!"? Building a skyscraper, or any structure, is more than just building the walls, windows, and floors. All structures require a foundation to keep them from falling down. This is especially important when a structure is built on a hill or on a slope. In this science project, you will build a tower of Lego® Duplos® on slopes with different angles. You will investigate how deep you have to dig the foundation for each… Read more
CE_p022
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision recommended when using the hacksaw. Be sure to wear safety goggles and use caution when using the hacksaw.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen a geodesic dome? Geodesic domes are approximately sphere-like (or partially sphere-like) structures made up of interconnected triangles. A famous geodesic dome is Spaceship Earth at EPCOT in Walt Disney World, Florida, but geodesic domes are also commonly found as climbing domes at playgrounds. In this science project, you will get to build a geodesic dome using rolled-up newspapers and tape. How much mass do you think your dome will be able to support? Build one and find out! Read more
CE_p008
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
How strongly do different types of nails hold in wood? Try different diameters of nails, and try pounding them to different depths. To gauge the holding strength, measure how difficult it is to remove the nail. Can you pull it out with a pair of pliers? Can you remove it with the hammer claw? Do you have to push only a little bit, moderately hard, or as hard as you can? Do you need a crowbar? What happens if you pre-drill holes for the nails, using drill bits that are different… Read more
CE_p019
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Sorry, you don't get to use a jackhammer for this project, but you'll find out another way to break concrete (not to mention what makes it strongest). Read more
CE_p010
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision recommended
Science Fair Project Idea
Using just a single sheet of paper (8.5 x 11 inches) and up to five paper clips, can you build a bridge that will span 20 cm and support the weight of 100 pennies? The area beneath the span must be free (so that boats can pass beneath it). To test your bridge, place two books 20 cm apart, and set the bridge on the books, spanning the gap. Do not fasten the bridge to the book (nor to any other support). Does your bridge hold as much weight as you expected it would? If your bridge fails… Read more
CE_p018
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Start with 7 drinking straws and 14 paper clips. Use the paper clips to fasten the straws together. Here's how: 1) Clip two paper clips together, narrow end to narrow end. 2) Push the wide ends of each clip into the end of a straw. That's it! Connect four straws to make a square, and three straws to make a triangle. Now test which shape is stronger. Hold the shapes vertically, with an edge or a vertex resting on the tabletop. Have a helper push on the opposite side or vertex. Which shape… Read more
CE_p017
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
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