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Project Idea
thumbnail Advertisements for high-tech sports gear or the latest and greatest outdoor material promise lighter and stronger products every season. Is it a scam? How can engineers keep creating materials that are both lighter and stronger than anything known so far? The answer is in the nanoscale! Using nanotechnology, scientists can play around with the detailed structure of matter, leading to a whole new range of materials, some with amazing qualities. In this science project, you will get a glimpse… Read more
MatlSci_p042
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you love roller coasters and other kinds of exciting rides? Are you a thrill-seeker? Well, this is the science fair project for you! What makes a ride so thrilling that people want to ride it over and over again even though it scares them? Is it the speed, the twists and turns, the vertical drops? In this science fair project, you will build and use an accelerometer to figure out what makes a roller-coaster ride worth standing in line for. Oh, and if Mom and Dad ask what an amusement park… Read more
ApMech_p041
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Access to an amusement park.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Make sure that you and your volunteers are healthy enough to ride roller-coaster rides. Always take a break and rest if you start to feel ill. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
Ever try to tear a telephone book in half? Even though you can easily rip one or a few pages to shreds, the entire phone book has strength in numbers and holds together. This project is an introduction to measuring and comparing the strength of materials. Does spaghetti get extra strength if you bundle it together, or does strength simply increase proportionally with the number of strands? If you're interested in materials testing, get cracking! Read more
MatlSci_p010
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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
The insides of a car engine get very hot when the engine is running. Motor oil lubricates the moving parts, to keep the engine operating smoothly. What happens to motor oil as the engine temperature goes up? Read more
MatlSci_p019
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision required. Use caution when heating oil in the water bath, and when handling hot containers.
Project Idea
thumbnail Want to stretch your imagination? One good way is to try to imagine how far it is to a distant star. How much farther away is it than the moon is from the earth? How much farther away than the earth is from the sun? How long would it take to get there? In this project, you'll learn one way of measuring the distance without leaving Earth. Read more
Astro_p019
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You will need a telescope for this project. Experience with geometry is recommended for this project (you need to understand similar triangles).
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Piezoelectric barbecue fire starters work by creating a spark that ignites the volatile lighter fluid, which then starts the charcoal burning. They are low current, high voltage devices. How high does the voltage have to get to make a spark in air? This project shows you a way to find out by with an inexpensive experimental setup to measure the distance that the spark can travel between two spherical electrodes. Read more
Elec_p032
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision recommended
Project Idea
thumbnail Build model bridges and then deliberately destroy them? Who'd be crazy enough to try that? Read more
CE_p011
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Most items can be obtained locally but may require visiting multiple stores.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Is an I-beam as strong as a solid beam of the same size? What if you include weight in the comparison: which beam has the greater strength-to-weight ratio? Would an I-beam be stronger than a solid rectangular beam of the same weight? What about other structural shapes (e.g., T-beams, U-beams)? In this project you can find out by setting up a test stand, putting on your safety goggles and measuring how much stress these building components can handle before they snap. Read more
MatlSci_p011
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury possible: Wear safety glasses when testing beam capacity. Keep hands and feet clear of the area underneath the weight bucket, which may fall at any time.
Project Idea
thumbnail Ultraviolet light can damage DNA molecules. If a cell's DNA repair mechanisms can't keep up with the damage, mutations are the result. As harmful mutations accumulate, the cell eventually dies. How much ultraviolet light is too much for a bacterial cell? Read more
MicroBio_p017
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites To do this project, you will need access to a laboratory with facilities for culturing bacteria. You should be familiar with sterile technique and proper handling of bacterial cultures.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision required. Read and follow the safety note below on ultraviolet light. Follow standard precautions for handling bacterial cultures.
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