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Project Idea
This project is a great way to "bring home" the concept of energy use. All you need to get started is a good-sized sample of monthly electric bills from households in your area. Building from this simple beginning, you can ask questions that can take you in many different directions. For example: How much electricity does the "average" person in your area use per month? How much does electricity use vary among different families? Read more
Energy_p017
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites To do this project you will have to collect sample monthly electric bills from at least 30 different households, along with the number of people living in the household.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal near Falkirk in central Scotland. It consists of two diametrically opposed caissons which rotate to lift boats between the two canals through a height of 35 meters. The wheel is always perfectly balanced and, despite its enormous mass, rotates through 180° in less than four minutes, using just 1.5 kilowatt-hours (Wikipedia contributors, 2006). Do background research to find out how much energy… Read more
Energy_p006
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
If you are interested in exploring how renewable energy can improve the environment, this project could be for you. You'll take on a real-life engineering challenge: deciding whether the benefits of a renewable energy technology are worth the cost to implement it. Some sample questions are suggested, but you can also come up with your own question that matches your specific renewable energy interest. Is there such thing as a free lunch? Read more
Energy_p016
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A mentor who has experience with solar energy systemes (design, hands-on, or both) in the building trades is highly recommended for this project.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail You've probably heard that compact fluorescent light bulbs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. More of the electricity they use goes into producing light, and less into producing heat than with incandescent bulbs. How much more efficient are compact fluorescent bulbs? You can find out for yourself by making a simple photometer to compare the light output from different bulbs. This project shows you how. Read more
Phys_p031
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended for cutting wax.
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.
Project Idea
Try different wind turbine/propeller (chord length, pitch) designs by making models from balsa wood. Connect the spinning axle to a DC motor and measure the voltage produced across a resistor to measure power output. Use fan as wind source. (Judge, 2004) Read more
Aero_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you know how much power is used every day in your home? What you might not realize is that making simple changes can save you energy, power, and money. What would you do with extra money? Put it in the bank or get something that you really want? In this science fair project, you will investigate the different uses of electricity in your home and determine if there are simple changes that you can make to save energy and money. Read more
Energy_p020
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Permission from an adult to access the appliances in your home.
Material Availability Specialty item required. This project requires an electricity usage monitor.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is required. Always exercise caution when dealing with electricity and electrical appliances.
Project Idea
thumbnail Ever been at the beach, taking in the sun and surf, listening to the Beach Boys play on your radio when suddenly it runs out of batteries right in the middle of California Girls? Okay, maybe this only happens to grey haired parents. You being younger and smarter use a hand-powered crank radio to listen to the latest pop tunes on Radio Disney. If batteries and Beach Boys are too old-school for you, then this may be the perfect experiment. Read more
Energy_p008
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Do you ever go camping with your family and roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire? If you want your campfire to burn long into the evening, what is the best wood to use? Do research on the necessary conditions/materials to sustain a fire and on the properties of different types of wood. Which properties do you think will be most important for determining how fast the wood burns? For example, how do you think density would be related to burning rate? Why? Measure the density and… Read more
MatlSci_p026
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Safety Adult supervision required.
Project Idea
Is there a public park, playground, or beach near you that suffers from a litter problem? Here is a way that you can do something about it! First, get a measure of the size of the problem by conducting a litter survey. Select a fraction of the area to survey at regular intervals (e.g., every two or three days, or maybe once a week). The area should be large enough so that you can get a representative sample of litter, but not so large that you can't clean it up. Each time you conduct your… Read more
EnvEng_p020
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
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