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Others Like “Polymer Permeability: Which Plastic Wrap Prevents Oxidation Best?”

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 water vapor? Or, in other words, which of these materials will best prevent evaporation? Do background research on… Read more
Chem_p032
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Material Availability Some types of plastic wraps may need to be specially ordered. Various PVC wraps are available through Amazon.
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever eaten half an apple and saved the other half for later, only to find that, by time you were ready to eat it, the apple did not look as tasty anymore? It may have turned brown and shriveled, and, if left out long enough, it may have spoiled. Do you think you could have prevented the other half from spoiling, or made it spoil less, if you had stored it differently, such as in the refrigerator in a food wrapping? In this cooking and food science project, you will investigate which… Read more
FoodSci_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Be careful when using the sharp knives. An adult volunteer may be needed for cutting the apples. Because of food safety concerns, do not taste or eat any of the apples used in this experiment.
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
Antioxidants have become very popular in the news lately for their potential health and anti-aging properties. Antioxidants work by preventing oxidation reactions that produce free-radicals which can cause harm to the body. Try testing different vitamins for antioxidant activity. How do vitamins A, B, C, and E compare? Do some vitamins have more antioxidant activity than others? What are some other sources of antioxidants? Try testing extracts from proposed sources of antioxidants like coffee,… Read more
HumBio_p001
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. Use caution when using sharp knives and do not eat any of your experiments.
Project Idea
Fruit is a strategy some plants use to attract animals to disperse seeds. The animals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds through the digestive system. To attract animals, fruit needs to ripen and develop an odor that acts as an attractant. How much more successful are ripe fruits at attracting animals? Try setting out an over and under ripe piece of fruit, and compare how many many insects are attracted to each fruit. How does ripening occur? You can do an experiment using a very ripe… Read more
PlantBio_p021
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Do not eat any fruit to which you have added chemicals. Use caution when using sharp knives or other kitchen equipment; adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail Why do different types of fruits come packaged in different ways? In this project, you will experiment with different ways of packaging fruit to see if it has an effect on the freshness of the fruit. Will a different kind of packaging allow the fruit to stay fresh longer? Read more
MatlSci_p022
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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
Here's a practical engineering challenge: you need to build an enclosure for your dogs, using material that they can't chew through. It's going to be a lot of work to build, so you want to do it right. What material should you choose for the fencing? This project uses the scientific method to evaluate materials. Read more
MatlSci_p018
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail If you have a garden, you probably know about snails (or their shell-less relatives, slugs). You may even be looking for a good way to keep them from getting into your garden and eating up the results of all your hard work. In this science project, you will take a scientific look at one method of discouraging this garden pest. Read more
Zoo_p019
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You should only do this science project if you live in an area where you routinely see land snails or slugs. Land snails and slugs are most likely to be out and active when it is damp out (such as in the early morning or after it has rained), or you may find them hiding under plant leaves.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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