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Others Like “Get Something for Nothing: Free Power from the Sun!”

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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Global warming, climate change, melting ice caps—these are all big events that have an impact our environment. What can we do to help reduce the impact? We can reduce, reuse, and recycle. What can cities do to help? Cities can eliminate waste by saving energy. Cities around the world are switching from incandescent traffic signals to LED traffic signals to save energy and money. That's because LEDs are more efficient than incandescent lamps, which means that LEDs produce more light… Read more
Energy_p003
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Prior experience with using a digital multimeter
Material Availability Specialty items (see Materials list)
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Since this science project deals with electricity, adult supervision is recommended. The LEDs used in this project are used in traffic signals and are very bright. Do not look directly at the LED when it is in operation and be sure to wear your sunglasses. Be sure to wear safety goggles when operating power tools.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Many people are surprised to learn that the season's we experience—winter, spring, summer and fall—have nothing to do with the distance of Earth from the Sun. In this science fair project, you will investigate how the temperature on Earth actually depends on the tilt of Earth's axis of rotation. Read more
EnvSci_p051
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need a couple of specialty items: a globe of Earth and a heat lamp. Light from the sun can be used if a heat lamp is not available.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury is possible, so be careful when using the heat lamp.
Science Fair Project Idea
Solar cells provide a clean way of making electricity directly from sunlight. In this project you will build a simple circuit and experimental setup to investigate whether the power output of a solar cell changes with ambient temperature. Read more
Energy_p012
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You must know or must learn how to use a voltmeter or multimeter.
Material Availability Specialty item: digital thermometer with probe
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wanted to analyze data from a NASA spacecraft? In this science project you will use data from NASA's MESSENGER mission to measure the diameter and calculate the depth of impact craters on Mercury. You will then analyze that data for relationships between a crater's depth and diameter. This is your chance to perform a science project as a NASA researcher would! Read more
Astro_p036
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites Geometry: familiarity using sine, cosine, and tangent to solve right triangles
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail You have probably heard about using renewable energy sources like wind and solar power to provide electricity to homes and buildings, as well as hybrid or fully electric cars that use less (or zero) gasoline. But what about solar-powered robots? As robots become more common, it is increasingly important to use "green" energy sources to power them. In this project, you will build and test a popular robot called a bristlebot — a tiny robot made using toothbrushes—that can operate on… Read more
Robotics_p026
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A kit containing all the electronics parts needed for this project can be found in the [# Link Name="Robotics_p026.1" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
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 Light interacts with matter in a variety of ways—it can be absorbed, reflected, refracted (bent), and scattered. The scattering of light explains why the sky is blue, why milk is white, and why the Mississippi River is called "The Big Muddy." In this biochemistry science fair project, you will make an electronic device to measure the amount of scattered light in milk. You will also use the device to track the activity of protease (a type of enzyme) in pineapple juice, based on its ability… Read more
BioChem_p032
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A familiarity with basic chemistry is required. Experience with simple electronics would be helpful, but is not absolutely required. Although the procedure provides step-by-step instructions, this is a DIY (do-it-yourself) science fair project that may call for some creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability Electronic components are required. See the Materials & Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use caution when working with laser pointers. Wear safety goggles when using the drill.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Do you know how to find the north and the south poles of a magnet? What materials are more magnetic than others? Is there a way to measure how strong a magnet is? Is there a way to measure the strength of an electromagnet? How much does the material that is in the core of the electromagnet affect its magnetic strength? With this project, you'll be able to answer these questions and many others. You will learn how to build and use a simple meter for measuring magnetic field intensity. Read more
Elec_p030
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items are needed. See the Materials tab for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Can you imagine designing and building a space telescope the size of a tennis court? Believe it or not, that is someone's job! Engineers are hard at work on the James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST. This telescope has the potential to enable astronomers to see light from when the Universe was first formed. No one knows what amazing discoveries this might lead to. However, to make the telescope work properly, engineers have to overcome a lot of challenges. In this science project, you can… Read more
Phys_p082
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- Less Details
Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Most of the materials are available in hardware or craft stores.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision is required. Use caution when using the box cutter, heat lamp, and laser pointer.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Solar cells are popping up on rooftops everywhere these days and are a model for clean, renewable energy. Did you ever look at those solar panels and wonder how we can get electricity produced by solar cells when the sun is not shining? It is a great question because solar panels do not produce electricity when it is dark outside. One strategy to overcome this challenge is to store the energy produced by solar cells during the day in the form of a fuel that can be used at a later time. In… Read more
Chem_p099
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Completion of a basic chemistry class is recommended before trying this science project. You should also know something about circuits, or use the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ElectronicsPrimerIntroduction" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Science Buddies Electronics Primer" #].
Material Availability A number of specialty items are required. For your convenience, a Science Buddies Kit is available for purchase.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. Use caution when connecting the four 9V batteries. Ensure that the wires/connectors do not come in contact with each other to cause a short or the batteries will become VERY hot and can possibly cause burns. Cobalt nitrate can cause skin and eye irritation. It is recommended to wear disposable gloves when handling cobalt nitrate.
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