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Others Like “The Speed of Light: Explore Solar Energy with a Supercapacitor Car Motor!”

Project Idea
Solar power is hot these days. Gleaming, black solar panels soak up rays on more and more rooftops of homes and businesses providing a clean, alternative source of heat and electricity. You might guess that different times of the day yield different levels of solar power. But just how much does the sun's position in the sky affect the power that solar cells and panels can generate? That's the question this project is all about. Read more
Energy_p013
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you like getting something for nothing? Everybody likes getting things for free. How about getting energy and power for free? The Sun sends us free energy every second and all we have to do is collect it. Taking advantage of free energy can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, which are harmful to our environment. In this science fair project, you will work with a solar panel, which is a collector of free energy, and investigate how varying the angle of the solar panel, and thus the amount… Read more
Energy_p004
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items required. You need to purchase a small solar panel.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail In this science project, you will build what might be the world's simplest motor. It has just four basic parts: magnets, a battery, a screwdriver, and a short piece of wire. It takes only minutes to assemble, but it provides a wonderful device to explore how electricity and magnetism combine to produce a fast-spinning motor. Read more
Elec_p065
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some familiarity with basic electronics and physics would be helpful, but is not required.
Material Availability Specialty items are required. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury is possible. Wear safety goggles at all times. Be sure to read the important safety notes at the beginning of the Experimental Procedure before you begin.
Project Idea
thumbnail "How do you frighten a grasshopper? And what does that have to do with light?" These are a couple of questions you're probably asking yourself after reading the title. Well, The Frightened Grasshopper Solar-Powered Bug is actually a toy grasshopper that vibrates when it is placed in sunlight or near a lightbulb. It stores up the energy from light, and converts it into motion. You will use this fun toy to explore how the brightness of the light affects the motion of the solar-powered insect. Read more
Elec_p061
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability The Frightened Grasshopper toy needs to be ordered from online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is required. The lightbulbs will be hot, so use caution to avoid getting burned by the bulbs. The Frightened Grasshopper toy should be assembled with the help of an adult since it is fragile and has some small parts.
Project Idea
thumbnail You probably know that turning off the lights and the water, and not wasting paper are all ways to help the environment and conserve our resources. Did you know that another way is to use fuel cells? A fuel cell is a device that converts the energy in chemicals to electricity and it creates no pollution. The starting chemical does not have to be something complex — in fact you it can even be water! In this science fair project try your own hand at converting water to electricity with the… Read more
Energy_p002
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- Less Details
Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items required. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety To do this science fair project, you will need to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is flammable, so keep the fuel cell and hydrogen storage tank away from sparks.
Project Idea
thumbnail Isn't it nice to take a nice, hot shower or bath after a long day of playing outside? But have you really thought about how the hot water in your shower or bath gets hot? Sure, the water heater in your house gets it hot, but what makes the water heater work? Water heaters are powered by natural gas or electricity. But are there any other ways to heat water? What about using the Sun? In this science fair project, you'll give it a try by capturing energy from the Sun to heat water. Read more
Energy_p033
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended when using scissors.
Project Idea
thumbnail Motors are used in many things you find around your house, like your refrigerator, coffee maker, and even a lawn mower. In this electronics science fair project, you will get to build a simple motor, using a kit, and then test how the number of batteries (amount of voltage) used to power the motor affects its performance. Read more
Elec_p057
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items: You will need a switch motor kit, ready for assembly. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Minor injury is possible, so be sure to wear safety goggles. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen moths buzzing around bright lights at night? What about animals that always crawl into dark places, under rocks or furniture? This type of behavior is called phototaxis — movement toward (or away from) a light source. In this project you will build your own biologically inspired robot critter that mimics this behavior. Basing your design on the popular and simple BristleBot robot, you will make a robot with two light sensors for "eyes" and two motors that help it steer… Read more
Robotics_p012
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some familiarity with electronic circuits and using breadboards will be very helpful, though not required, for this project. Using a soldering iron is also helpful but a work-around is offered in the Procedure.
Material Availability This project requires certain parts from an electronics store or online retailer. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety If you use a soldering iron for this project remember that soldering irons get extremely hot and can cause burns if they touch your skin. They can also become a fire hazard if left unattended. Science Buddies recommends using lead-free solder, especially in homes with pets or small children.
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 needs to be special ordered from Science Buddies. See the Materials tab for details.
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.
Project Idea
thumbnail When you think of a motor, you may immediately think of a car, but you actually encounter other motors in your home every day. That's right, if you put on clean clothes from the washing machine, ate food from the fridge, or used a fan, you used an electric motor. In this electronics science project, you will make a simple electric motor with two magnets that "talk" to each other. As they interact, they will alternate between "liking" each other (pulling together), and "disliking" each other… Read more
Elec_p051
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should be able to coil wire neatly (or find someone who can show you how) in order to make your electric motor work.
Material Availability Specialty items are required for this science project, and are available as a Science Buddies kit. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety

Never try to use a wall socket as power source for your motor.

Neodymium magnets are very strong. Follow the safety guidelines in the Procedure for working with these magnets.

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