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

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Science Fair Project Idea
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
Solar cells are an alternative method for generating electricity directly from sunlight. With this project, you can get down to the atomic level and learn about the world of solid-state electronics as you investigate how solar cells work. Your experiment will measure the effect of changing light intensity on power output from the solar cell. A possible variation would be to investigate the effect of changing the color of the light. Read more
Energy_p014
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty electronics components required, see Materials list for details
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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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- Less Details
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
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
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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- Less Details
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
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 to make even more… Read more
Elec_p071
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites We recommended that you have a basic knowledge in physics of electricity and familiarity with the concepts of conductivity, electric current, resistance and electrical power. Having used a multimeter before is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability The microbial fuel cell kit needs to be special-ordered from the
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
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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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
This science project presents an interesting puzzle. A disk of wood will float face-up; that is, with its circular cross-section parallel to the surface of the water. A long log of wood, however, floats on its side with the circular cross-section perpendicular to the surface of the water. If you think about it, disks and logs are both cylinders. Is there some intermediate length of cylinder that floats with the circular cross-section at a tilted angle? Try this experiment to find out! Read more
Aero_p021
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended when using the wood saw. Always wear safety goggles when working with tools.
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever noticed how magnets appear to have no effect on each other when they are far apart? Then, when you slowly move them closer together, you will start to feel a gentle pull until they suddenly snap together? How exactly does the strength of a magnet change with distance, and how would you measure it if you wanted to find out? In this project you will build a circuit that can measure the strength of a magnetic field and see how the field strength changes with distance. Read more
Elec_p030
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with using a solderless breadboard, or willingness to learn
Material Availability For your convenience a kit is available for this project from the . Time required includes shipping for the kit.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Short circuits can get very hot. Double-check all of your wiring before you connect the 9 V battery.
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever seen a cat chase a laser pointer or a flashlight beam? What if you could make a robot do that? In this project, you will build a robot that can automatically drive toward a bright light source. The robot uses a simple electronic circuit to track light, so there is no computer programming required! You can also do three other robotics projects using the same kit of parts, so this is a great way to get started with robotics before moving on to more advanced projects. Read more
Robotics_p022
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You will need to know how to use a breadboard to do this project. See the Science Buddies reference [# ProjectGuide Name="Breadboard.Tutorial" Value="HtmlAnchor" #] if you have not used a breadboard before.
Material Availability A kit is available in the .
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Short circuits can get very hot and present a burn hazard. Be careful to follow the directions in the Procedure in order to avoid short circuits when building your robot.
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