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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Generating power from mud sounds like science fiction, but it is actually real science, and a promising source of alternative energy. Topsoil is packed with bacteria that generate electricity when placed in a microbial fuel cell. Because such bacteria-laden soil is found almost everywhere on Earth, microbial fuel cells can make clean, renewable electricity nearly anyplace around the globe. They are an up-and-coming technology that scientists and engineers are working on making even more… Read more
Elec_p071
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Having used a voltmeter/multimeter before is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability The microbial fuel cell kit needs to be special ordered from the [# Link Name="Elec_p071.7" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Be sure to wear the gloves supplied with the kit when handling the microbial fuel cell's electrodes (its cathode and anode). The electrodes are made of a conductive material called graphite fiber and should not be placed near electronics, power plugs, or have their fibers dispersed in the air. The fibers will cause electrical shortages when in contact with electronics.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Objects that glow in the dark hold a special place in the imagination of both children and adults. The lights go out at night, but these odd things refuse to disappear. Where does the light come from? Do they work in any climate? In this science fair project, you will build an electronic device that measures the light given off by luminescent materials. The device will be used to study how temperature affects luminescence. Read more
Chem_p072
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A familiarity with basic chemistry is required. Also, some experience with electronics would be helpful. Although the circuit is fairly straightforward, especially if you use the kit, this is a DIY ("do-it-yourself") project that will call for some creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability Any phosphorescent material will work for this project. If you want to use super-bright phosphorescent paints, they are available online. See the Materials & Equipment list for more information.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Use caution when using the drill or knife. Wear safety goggles when using the drill.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail So, you've got your popcorn and are settled into your seat at the movie. The lights dim—it's show time! But wait a second. Did you ever wonder how those lights dim so smoothly? It just wouldn't be the same if the lights suddenly snapped off, would it? In this electronics science fair project, you'll investigate dimmer switches, and even build a simple model of one. Try this project and light up your room, and your mind! Read more
Elec_p056
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety You will need an adult's assistance to use the pocket knife. Adult supervision is required.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail You can see examples of parabolic reflectors in flashlights, car headlights, satellite TV antennas, and even on the sidelines at football games. How do these "dish" antennas work to gather signals? What is the best position for placing the detector for these antennas? In this project, you can use an LED and a simple photodetector to find out for yourself. Read more
Elec_p040
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In the animal kingdom, many different critters use whiskers to help them find their way around in the dark, through murky waters, or even to help them hunt prey. Whiskers can be very useful when the animals can't rely on sight. Did you know that you can also build a robot that uses whiskers to find its way around? This science project will show you how to build a simple robot that uses whiskers as "bump sensors" to help the robot detect when it is about to bump into an obstacle, so it can turn… Read more
Robotics_p028
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites While no previous electronics or robotics experience is required to do this science project, it will be helpful if you are familiar with basic circuit concepts and with using a breadboard. The Bibliography section in the Background tab has many tutorials you can use to get started.
Material Availability This science project requires specific circuit components from an electronics vendor. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Short circuits can get very hot and present a burn hazard. Be careful to avoid short circuits when building your robot. The "whiskers" used in this project are made of narrow wire and should be handled carefully. See the Procedure for more information.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Measuring the value of a resistor with an ohmmeter is pretty simple. You connect the meter to the resistor, and read off the measurement from the meter. But what if the resistance you want to measure is very low? This project shows you how to use a four-point resistance measurement method to measure low resistance values. Read more
Elec_p025
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites To do this project, you should be familiar with Ohm's Law, and with the basics of using a digital multimeter.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Along with its many other interesting properties, water has the ability to absorb a lot of heat energy, while only experiencing a relatively small change in temperature. One way this property affects us directly is that our bodies don't change temperature rapidly on hot or cold days, since we are made up of mostly water. In this chemistry-with-an-electronics-flair science fair project, you will determine how the temperature of a small volume of water changes as you add precise amounts of heat… Read more
Chem_p092
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites An introductory class in chemistry would be helpful. You should also be familiar with Ohm's law.
Material Availability You will need to order a calorimeter with a heating element online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you want to get your friend's attention at a crowded sporting event with lots of people cheering, you need to shout. If you're trying to do the same thing in a quiet library, a whisper works. The detection limit for each of our senses depends on the amount of "background" stimulation that is already present. This project uses an LED control circuit to investigate detection of changes in light levels. Read more
Elec_p039
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Understanding of Ohm's Law and an understanding of logarithms. Note: the biggest expense is a powered, solderless breadboard, which can be used for future explorations in electronics.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Do you think it is possible to build a robot you can steer, without programming a computer to tell the robot what to do? Believe it or not, it is! In this engineering project, you will build a robot using a simple electronic circuit that steers the robot left or right to make it follow a bright light. Then you will make some adjustments to the robot to see if you can improve its steering. How well will you be able to control your robot? Read more
Robotics_p022
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites While no previous electronics or robotics experience is required to do this project, it will be helpful if you are familiar with basic circuit concepts and with using a breadboard. The Bibliography section in the Background tab has many tutorials you can use to get started.
Material Availability This project requires specific circuit components from an electronics vendor. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Short circuits can get very hot and present a burn hazard. Be careful to avoid short circuits when building your robot. See the Procedure for more information.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Do you like playing with squishy play dough or modeling clay? Wouldn't it be cool if you could add lights, sound, or even motion to your play dough creations? In this science project, you will make play dough that conducts electricity, which will allow you to connect lights, motors, and buzzers! This science project is the first in a three-part series on "squishy circuits," which can all be done with the same materials. We recommend doing the science projects in order. Read more
Elec_p073
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires a Squishy Circuits Kit and ingredients to make conductive and insulating play dough. See the Materials and Equipment list for details
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Ask for an adult's help when using the stove to make the conductive play dough. Never connect the battery pack's terminals directly to each other; this is called a short circuit and can make the batteries and wires get very hot. Do not connect the LEDs directly to the battery pack without using play dough; this will burn out the LEDs.
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