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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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- Less Details
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
Have you ever wondered how your cell phone or laptop keeps running once you unplug it? Sure, it is the battery that makes your portable electronics work, but how exactly does a battery do that, and from where does the electricity come? Generally, in a battery chemical energy is converted into electrical energy. In fact, many different types of batteries exist that are all based on a different set of chemical reactions. In this science project, you will explore a special battery variant called… Read more
Chem_p107
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some knowledge of basic chemistry and familiarity with the concept of electrochemistry would be helpful.
Material Availability This science project requires specialty electronics items. A structure is available. Estimated time required includes time for shipping the kit.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Hydrogen peroxide can irritate the skin and eyes. When working with this chemical, make sure to wear eye and skin protection in case of any splashes or spills. In case of chemical contact, rinse skin or eyes immediately with plenty of water.
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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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
Sometimes engineers get ideas to build robots from animals in nature. There are robot dogs, robot snakes, robot birds, robot cheetahs, and even tiny robotic insects! In this science project, you will build a robot insect of your own. The robot will automatically drive toward a light source, mimicking a behavior called phototaxis, seen in some insects. You will build your own robot and then make adjustments so it can reliably drive toward a light. Read more
Robotics_p012
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites none
Material Availability A kit containing all the electronics parts needed for this project can be found in the .
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
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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- Less Details
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.
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