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Project Idea
There are three different kinds of polymers used for kitchen plastic wrap: low density polyethylene (LDPE) (e.g., Handiwrap or Glad Wrap), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (e.g., Reynolds PVC Foodservice Wrap or Boardwalk PVC Food Wrap Film) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC)(e.g., Saran Wrap, which is almost 90% polyvinylidene chloride). Which of these materials is least permeable to oxygen? When you slice an apple, the surface of the slice turns brown as the apple is oxidized. Can plastic wrap seal… Read more
Chem_p033
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Material Availability Some types of plastic wraps may need to be specially ordered. Various PVC wraps are available through Amazon.
Project Idea
Some plastics undergo an unusual transition, from a hard, glassy state to a soft, rubbery state, with increased temperature. For this project, you should do background research on the effects of temperature on different types of plastics. Make sure that you understand the difference between thermosetting and thermoplastic polymers. You should also look for information on the glass transition temperature (Tg) for different plastics. Pure polyvinyl acetate has a Tg of 28°C (about 82°F). You… Read more
Chem_p034
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Safety Adult supervision required for experiments using boiling water.
Project Idea
Disposable diapers contain a polymer, called sodium acrylate, which is useful for absorbing water. Do background research to learn about sodium acrylate, and how it reacts with water. Make sure that you understand the terms hydrophilic, polarity and hydrogen bonding. Cut out the middle, padded section of a disposable diaper. Cut this into equally-sized square pieces, approximately 10–12 cm on a side. Remove some of the stuffing material so that you can staple the open ends closed. Measure… Read more
Chem_p035
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Time Required Short (2-5 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)
Project Idea
thumbnail This project shows you how to build a simple model system to simulate underground water flow. Underground water flow is important for understanding replenishment of underground aquifers, migration of underground contaminant plumes, and cave formation. With your model system, you can simulate various underground conditions, and test your predictions about the effects they have on water flow. Read more
Geo_p014
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
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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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
Did you know that you can make a simple hygrometer (a device for measuring the relative humidity of the air) with hair? This type of hygrometer is easy to build (for instructions, see: http://www.fi.edu/weather/todo/hygrometer.html). Does the type of hair used in the hygrometer affect the accuracy of the results? Do some types of hair respond faster than others? Do some types of hair give a larger (or smaller) response? You could get hair samples from classmates, or a local beauty shop. Use… Read more
MatlSci_p035
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail This physics project seems like it should have an easy answer. Instead, it turns out to be a great illustration of why it is important to base scientific conclusions on the outcome of controlled experiments. Things don't always turn out as we expect! Read more
Phys_p032
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Careful attention to the details of your experimental method are required for this project.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Adult supervision recommended for heating water and handling hot water.
Project Idea
thumbnail Are you fascinated by radioactivity and the emission of particles caused by the disintegration of an atom? This science project enables you to observe safely a spectacular display of radioactive decay. Following the instructions in the Procedure, you will be able to isolate a safe radioactive source and build a cloud chamber to watch the radioactive decay. Then you will use your cloud chamber to discover if a plastic lid can shield you from this type of radioactive decay particles. Read more
Phys_p086
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of, or willingness to study independently, the atomic model and what radiation is.
Material Availability Specialty items are required. See the Materials tab for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety

You will be working with radioactive material in this science project; it is completely safe as long as the simple safety instructions in the Procedure are followed.

This project uses isopropyl alcohol, a flammable product. Do not use it near an open flame or anything hot.

Dry ice is colder than regular ice and can damage your skin. Wear insulating gloves when handling it.

If you choose to take apart a smoke detector, be very careful when cutting through metal or plastic. Cut edges might be sharp. Adult help and supervision is required. Minor injury is possible.

Project Idea
A solution consists of a solute dissolved in a solvent. A solution is saturated when no additional solute will dissolve in it. You'll need a gram balance, a 100 ml graduated cylinder, three beakers or glass jars, three saucers, water, 50 g non-iodized salt (NaCl), 50 g Epsom salts (MgSO4) and 250 g sugar (sucrose). Method 1: Measure 100 ml water and pour into an empty beaker or jar. Weigh out the suggested amount of the solute to be tested. Add a small amount of the solute to the water and… Read more
Chem_p037
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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