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Others Like “Build Your Own Helio Tracker—a Self-powered Mechanical Sunflower that Turns with the Sun”

Project Idea
thumbnail Do you like getting something for nothing? Everybody likes getting things for free. How about getting energy and power for free? The Sun sends us free energy every second and all we have to do is collect it. Taking advantage of free energy can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, which are harmful to our environment. In this science fair project, you will work with a solar panel, which is a collector of free energy, and investigate how varying the angle of the solar panel, and thus the amount… Read more
Energy_p004
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items required. You need to purchase a small solar panel.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
If you are interested in exploring how renewable energy can improve the environment, this project could be for you. You'll take on a real-life engineering challenge: deciding whether the benefits of a renewable energy technology are worth the cost to implement it. Some sample questions are suggested, but you can also come up with your own question that matches your specific renewable energy interest. Is there such thing as a free lunch? Read more
Energy_p016
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A mentor who has experience with solar energy systemes (design, hands-on, or both) in the building trades is highly recommended for this project.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail A ship is a busy place. When out to sea, naval, research, and fishing vessels pull or push heavy loads, like research equipment and crab pots, into and out of the water. But equipment and pots can weigh hundreds of pounds. So how does a ship's crew lift loads efficiently and accurately? With a hydraulic knuckle crane, of course. But what is hydraulics and why does hydraulics make certain tasks easier? Hydraulics is the study of liquids and their mechanical properties: how they move, resist… Read more
ApMech_p049
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to purchase syringes to build the model crane.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Be sure to wear safety goggles when using tools like saws and drills. Minor injury is possible. Adult supervision is required.
Project Idea
thumbnail Can you lift a car? No? You say you are not strong enough? True, our bodies are not built to lift heavy loads like cars. Fortunately, our brains are smart enough to harness the power of fluids, like water and oil, to create hydraulic lifts. By pushing a button on a hydraulic lift, a mechanic can easily raise a car with one finger. Lifts can also be used to raise lots of other heavy loads - even such massive things as steel girders to construct a skyscraper! In this mechanical engineering… Read more
ApMech_p048
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Syringes, which are needed for this project, can be ordered online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Since minor injury is possible, use caution when using a tool such as a saw. Be sure to wear safety goggles when using tools. Use epoxy in a well-ventilated area and follow all of the safety recommendations on the package. Adult supervision is required.
Project Idea
thumbnail Isn't it nice to take a nice, hot shower or bath after a long day of playing outside? But have you really thought about how the hot water in your shower or bath gets hot? Sure, the water heater in your house gets it hot, but what makes the water heater work? Water heaters are powered by natural gas or electricity. But are there any other ways to heat water? What about using the Sun? In this science fair project, you'll give it a try by capturing energy from the Sun to heat water. Read more
Energy_p033
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended when using scissors.
Project Idea
thumbnail "How do you frighten a grasshopper? And what does that have to do with light?" These are a couple of questions you're probably asking yourself after reading the title. Well, The Frightened Grasshopper Solar-Powered Bug is actually a toy grasshopper that vibrates when it is placed in sunlight or near a lightbulb. It stores up the energy from light, and converts it into motion. You will use this fun toy to explore how the brightness of the light affects the motion of the solar-powered insect. Read more
Elec_p061
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability The Frightened Grasshopper toy needs to be ordered from online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is required. The lightbulbs will be hot, so use caution to avoid getting burned by the bulbs. The Frightened Grasshopper toy should be assembled with the help of an adult since it is fragile and has some small parts.
Project Idea
Solar power is hot these days. Gleaming, black solar panels soak up rays on more and more rooftops of homes and businesses providing a clean, alternative source of heat and electricity. You might guess that different times of the day yield different levels of solar power. But just how much does the sun's position in the sky affect the power that solar cells and panels can generate? That's the question this project is all about. Read more
Energy_p013
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail How can seawater from the oceans be turned into fresh water that is suitable for people to drink? Through a process called solar desalination! In this science project, you will make a solar desalination apparatus using readily available materials, and a power source that is free. How much water can the device produce, and is it still salty at all? What factors affect how effectively saltwater is turned into fresh water? Read more
EnvEng_p022
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Some specialty items needed, see Materials list for details. For your convenience a Science Buddies Kit is available for purchase.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety A hand drill is needed for some steps. Adult assistance is needed for the steps involving a hand drill. All items in the Science Buddies Kit come pre-drilled, eliminating this safety issue.
Project Idea
Try different wind turbine/propeller (chord length, pitch) designs by making models from balsa wood. Connect the spinning axle to a DC motor and measure the voltage produced across a resistor to measure power output. Use fan as wind source. (Judge, 2004) Read more
Aero_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
How much force is required to advance a lag bolt (large wood screw with a hex-shaped head) into a piece of wood? You can measure the force by using a spring scale attached to the handle of ratchet. Pull on the spring scale until the bolt starts to turn, and note the required force from the spring scale. There are many potential experiments you could try. Think about answering the following questions: How does the force change as the bolt advances deeper into the wood? Why? How does the… Read more
ApMech_p032
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
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