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Others Like “See the Light by Making a Cell Phone Spectrophotometer”

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Science Fair Project Idea
Do you read the list of ingredients in foods and drinks before you buy them at the grocery store? If you do, you may have noticed that many of the items, especially colored drinks, contain dyes with names such as FD&C Blue 1, Red 40, or Yellow 5. But how much dye is needed to create all these colors? In this chemistry science project, you will build a simple spectrophotometer that is able to measure the concentration of colored chemicals in solutions. You will test your device by measuring… Read more
Chem_p075
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Some knowledge of basic chemistry, as well as familiarity with electronics, would be helpful, but is not required.
Material Availability For your convenience a kit is available for this project from the . Time required includes shipping for the kit. For data analysis, a spreadsheet program, such as Google SheetsTM or Microsoft® Excel® is helpful.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever wondered how your clothes get their color? Dyeing textiles is a very complicated process and involves a lot of chemistry. Not only are the properties of the dye and fabric important, but the dyeing conditions also have to be exactly right to get optimal color adsorption. Curious about how it works? In this science project, you will color wool with Kool-Aid® and explore the chemistry of dyeing. Read more
Chem_p106
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Knowledge of basic chemistry is helpful as well as a good understanding of mathematical operations such as algebra and simple linear regression.
Material Availability This project requires special electronic parts. A kit is available at the . Estimated time required includes time for shipping the kit. For data analysis, a spreadsheet program, such as Google SheetsTM or Microsoft® Excel®, is helpful.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety This project requires working with boiling water. Make sure to take precautions to prevent burns from the hot liquid.
Science Fair Project Idea
Why is it more comfortable to wear light-colored clothes on a hot summer day? Why wear a dark-colored jacket for early-morning fishing on a cold lake? How much difference can it make? Here's a project where you can quantify how much difference color makes for absorbing heat. Read more
Phys_p030
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision required for drilling jar lids.
Science Fair Project Idea
Many people you know probably have an opinion about the kind of milk they like to drink—some like it thin and refreshing, others like it thick and rich. Milk can be bought with different fat concentrations, but other than that, it's all the same. Or is it? This science fair project raises a few interesting questions about the other contents in milk. Do all milk products have the same protein concentrations? Do cows produce different types of milk during different stages of lactation?… Read more
BioChem_p034
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Prior to starting this science fair project, you should either know how to use a spectrophotometer, or have access to someone who can show you how to use it.
Material Availability This science fair project requires access to laboratory equipment and supplies, including a spectrophotometer; see the Materials and Equipment section for more details. Access to a dairy is also needed for the main project, but the Variations section, below, lists options that are not dependent on dairy access.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended when using laboratory equipment.
Science Fair Project Idea
Everyone has experienced the warmth provided by a shaft of sunlight through a window. In this physics science fair project, you will determine how the color of an object affects the amount of radiant energy that is absorbed. You will then use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation to determine the amount of energy that is absorbed and re-emitted by the different colors. Read more
Phys_p073
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You must be familiar with scientific notation.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Don't you hate it if you want to pour yourself a cup of milk and all you get is milk clumps? What happened to the milk is called coagulation, which is the mechanism that occurs when proteins in the milk clump together. Without coagulation, or curdling, there wouldn't be any cheese or yogurt which is why it is a very important process in the food industry. But what makes milk curdle? In this science project you will use pineapple juice to curdle milk and measure the coagulation process over time… Read more
BioChem_p032
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A familiarity with basic chemistry and experience with simple electronics would be helpful, but is not absolutely required.
Material Availability For your convenience a kit is available for this project from the . Time required includes shipping for the kit. For data analysis, a spreadsheet program, such as Google SheetsTM or Microsoft® Excel® is helpful.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Science Fair Project Idea
You've probably noticed the colorful patterns "reflecting" from the shiny surface of a CD disk. What you are seeing is actually diffraction of white light, and the rainbows of color are diffraction patterns. In this project you'll learn about how diffraction patterns are generated, and you'll find out how you can use a laser pointer and a protractor to measure the microscopic spacing of data tracks on a CD. Read more
Phys_p011
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision recommended. Even low-power lasers can cause permanent eye damage. Please carefully review and follow the .
Science Fair Project Idea
Is that right side of your brain yearning to express its artistic side? This is a project that beautifully blends art with science. Learn about light and colorful shadows in these experiments where you mix and match various colors of light to create a mini light show and shadow wall. You might be surprised at the colorful hues you'll find lurking in the shadows. Read more
Phys_p035
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
You know how to make new colors by mixing paint or crayons. For example, you get green by mixing yellow and blue, or orange by mixing red and yellow. With paint, blue, yellow, and red are primary colors, which you can use to make other colors. Have you ever tried making colors with light? Are the primary colors the same ones you use for paint? Do this experiment and find out. Read more
HumBeh_p021
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Your drinking water probably started out brown and muddy. Are you surprised? Maybe you were picturing it flowing from a clean mountain spring instead? All over the world, including in 68% of American homes, people get their drinking water from rivers, lakes, and other surface waters. This water is filled with dirt, debris, and other contaminants as it travels hundreds of miles. So, how does your drinking water go from brown and muddy to crystal clear? Often, flocculants—substances that… Read more
EnvEng_p039
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some basic knowledge in chemistry would be helpful, but is not necessary.
Material Availability This project requires special electronic parts. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. For data analysis, a spreadsheet program, such as Google SheetsTM or Microsoft® Excel®, is helpful.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
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