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Physics Project Ideas

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail While trains that fly through the air might still be science fiction, trains that float just above the tracks without actually touching them are real and are actually used in a few countries today. This technology is called magnetic levitation. In this physics science project, you will build your own levitating train model and test how much weight it can hold before it stops hovering above the tracks. Read more
Phys_p093
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires the Magic Bullet Train kit, available for purchase from the [# Link Name="Phys_p093.12" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety When working with magnets, keep them away from your mouth, and away from small children and pets.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail What can you do with magnets and ball bearings that makes a lot of noise? Why, build a magnetic rifle, called a Gauss rifle, of course! Now, this rifle is not a weapon, but a way for you to learn a lot more about physics concepts, like momentum. In this physics science project, you will investigate how far a ball bearing launched by a Gauss rifle will fly, depending on how many magnetic acceleration stages are in the rifle and the ball bearing's initial velocity. This science project makes for… Read more
Phys_p081
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items including neodymium magnets and steel ball bearings are needed for this project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety A Gauss rifle can produce high velocity projectiles. Do not aim the gun at anyone or anything; do not put your hand in front of the projectile. Operate the Gauss rifle safely. Be sure to read the important safety notes at the beginning of the Experimental Procedure before you begin. Scissors or other metal objects may be attracted to the magnets; use caution when using metal objects near the magnets.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail You may have seen movies or read books where armies in medieval times catapulted large rocks or other objects at castles (or each other!). These armies used different types of catapults to accomplish different goals — for example, launching things over or into castle walls to knock them down. In this experiment, you will use a ping-pong ball catapult to lay siege to a "castle" and find the right settings to hit your targets. Read more
Phys_p085
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury possible. Keep your fingers clear when launching the catapult. Do not aim the catapult at people.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Did you know that you can figure out how much sugar is in a liquid without ever tasting it? In this science fair project, you will learn how to measure the concentration of sugar dissolved in a liquid by using a laser pointer, a hollow prism, and some physics. You will discover how refraction, or the bending of light, is the key to measuring the sugar content of a liquid with a laser pointer. Read more
Phys_p028
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A kit containing specialty items needed for this project is available from the [# Link Name="Phys_p028.7" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Adult supervision recommended. Even low-power lasers can cause permanent eye damage. Please carefully review and follow the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.LaserSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Astronomers can figure out what distant stars are made of (in other words, their atomic composition) by measuring what type of light is emitted by the star. In this science project, you can do something similar by observing the color of flames when various chemicals are burned. Read more
Phys_p058
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Requires specific chemicals; see Materials for more details. For your convenience, a kit is available for purchase at the [# Link Name="Phys_p058.5" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision required. This science fair project involves creating small controlled fires. Make sure you follow all the safety guidelines in the Experimental Procedure.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In physics class, you have probably rolled your eyes at some point after being assigned a "projectile motion" homework problem where you use equations to predict how a ball will move through the air. This experiment will show you just how fun that problem can be by using a real catapult to launch a ball and videotaping it as it flies along its path. Then, you will analyze the video and compare it to what the equations predicted. If you have ever wondered if those equations in your physics… Read more
Phys_p089
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This project requires a basic understanding of algebra, trigonometry (sine and cosine functions), and physics (kinematics—two-dimensional projectile motion), or the willingness to learn about these subjects on your own.
Material Availability This project requires access to a video camera (not included in the cost estimate) and the purchase of a catapult kit. (See the Materials and Equipment list for details.)
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Minor injury possible. Never aim the catapult at anyone, and keep your hands and fingers clear of the moving catapult arm when launching the catapult.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In the Science Buddies project , you can learn about the basics of magnetic induction, or how moving magnets can be used to generate an electric current. The detailed physics of how a changing magnetic field can induce an electric current are described by Faraday's law and Lenz's law (see the Bibliography for more information about these two laws). For a more advanced version of the Human-Powered Energy project idea, try setting up an experiment to prove or demonstrate these two laws,… Read more
Phys_p097
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This project requires a high-school level understanding of electromagnetism, or a willingness to learn about it.
Material Availability A kit containing the materials for this project is available in the [# Link Name="Energy_p009.16" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Science Buddies store" #]. Estimated project time includes shipping.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Neodymium magnets must be handled carefully. Please see the detailed warnings below.
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