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Materials Science Project Ideas

Project Idea
thumbnail Does your hair go crazy when the weather turns damp? Did you know that strands of hair can relax and lengthen when the humidity increases and then contract again when the humidity decreases? In fact, hair strands can be used as the basis for a hygrometer, a device which measures the humidity level in the air. Can a human hair hygrometer also detect changes in hair structure caused by chemical lightening? This project shows you how to find out. Read more
MatlSci_p020
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision required for working with hydrogen peroxide-based hair lighteners. Wear protective gloves and eye wear.
Project Idea
thumbnail In the fairy tale of the three little pigs, the wolf huffed and puffed and blew down the first pig's straw house. But in reality, straw, tied into bales, is a viable building material that, when used properly, makes sturdy and energy-efficient buildings. Straw is a renewable resource that is available all over the world since it is the byproduct of growing grain. In this science fair project, you will test a straw bale covered with stucco to see if it's water resistant, and evaluate if it's… Read more
MatlSci_p039
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites You need access to a local stream or creek.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Minor injury is possible, so wear safety goggles. Adult supervision is required. Make sure to ask for help when lifting and moving straw bales.
Project Idea
thumbnail What happens if you hold a magnet next to water? You might think that water is not affected by magnetism, but in fact, the water is slightly repelled. Believe it or not, if the magnet is strong enough, you can use this effect to levitate objects that contain water, including insects and even small frogs! In this science project, you will learn about diamagnetism. Materials that are repelled by both poles of a magnet are called diamagnetic. The magnets you will use are not strong enough to float… Read more
MatlSci_p041
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to purchase some materials online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Neodymium magnets are extremely strong, and must be handled with care to avoid personal injury and damage to the magnets or to electronic appliances. Minor injury is possible and you should wear safety goggles whenever working with these magnets. Please read the important safety notes in the Experimental Procedure before beginning this science project.
Project Idea
What are the best materials to use for blocking out unwanted noise from the environment? You can build a test box (or test frame) around an audio speaker. Use a sound level meter to measure the speaker output. Use different materials to cover the walls of your test box (or frame), and see which materials do the best job at blocking the sound. For a more advanced project, perform your tests using different sound frequencies. Are some materials better at blocking certain frequencies than… Read more
MatlSci_p033
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
Plastics are made of polymers, chemical structures containing many repeated subunits. How does the polymer type of a plastic affect the biodegradability of the plastic? Do research on how plastic is made and what types of polymers are used for making different plastics. Can you learn to make your own plastic? What materials can you use for making plastic that is biodegradable? Test biodegradability by burying plastic samples for different lengths of time. (Kadar, 2004) Reducing solid waste… Read more
MatlSci_p034
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
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