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Others Like “A Battery That Makes Cents”

Project Idea
thumbnail The makers of sports drinks spend tens to hundreds of millions of dollars advertising their products each year. Among the benefits often featured in these ads are the beverages' high level of electrolytes, which your body loses as you sweat. In this science project, you will compare the amount of electrolytes in a sports drink with those in orange juice to find out which has more electrolytes to replenish the ones you lose as you work out or play sports. When you are finished, you might even… Read more
Chem_p053
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need a digital multimeter for this science fair project. See the Materials and Equipment list for more details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Project Idea
thumbnail Imagine telling your friends about your latest science project: using a battery to make a light turn on. You might get some blank stares...sounds a little boring and basic, right? Now tell them you will do it with a potato! Yes, you can actually turn fruits and vegetables into electric power sources! Batteries power many things around you, including cell phones, wireless video game controllers, and smoke detectors. In this science project, you will learn about the basics of battery science and… Read more
Energy_p010
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires specialty electronics items. A Science Buddies kit is available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Do not eat the potatoes after they have been used as batteries.
Project Idea
thumbnail You have probably heard the saying that "water and electricity don't mix." Well, in this chemistry science fair project you will mix them, to create two solutions, one basic and one acidic. The apparatus is very simple, but the chemistry is complex and offers many avenues for exploration. Read more
Chem_p087
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should know what the pH scale is, and what current and voltage measure in a circuit.
Material Availability A pH meter is required for this project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury is possible. Be careful not to short out the battery, as it may get very hot.
Project Idea
Here you'll find what you need to scientifically assess battery performance. You'll learn about how batteries work, how they wear out and, most importantly, how to make valid measurements to assess battery performance over time. Read more
Energy_p011
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some versions of this idea require a voltmeter or multimeter
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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 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.
Project Idea
Have you ever wondered what makes water 'bead' up on a freshly waxed car? In this project you'll investigate the chemistry of surface tension by measuring how many drops of water a penny can hold. What happens if you add salt or detergent to the water? Read more
Chem_p021
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail "Gross! What is that in the toilet?" But maybe it's not just gross. Did you know there are bacteria that digest organic waste and create electrons? What if there was a way to collect those electrons to power a circuit? In this science fair project, you will make a microbial fuel cell to collect the electrons that the bacteria—anaerobic bacteria—create...only, you'll be using mud, which is much safer to handle than wastewater. If you would like to learn how to reuse and recycle an… Read more
Energy_p026
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites You will need to be familiar with the procedures for handling biologically hazardous material. Read the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #] from the Science Buddies Project Guide to learn more about handling biologically hazardous materials. You also need to have access to a lower-order stream of water or a creek. See the Introduction for an explanation of this type of stream. Try to avoid streams in which the bed is rocky. The benthic mud sample should be from an area that has a thick, rich mud bed.
Material Availability Specialty items required
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. Be careful when using a hot stove and a drill. Remember to always wear safety goggles when drilling. Exercise caution when working near a stream or creek. Water currents can be stronger than they look.
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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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
Pennies are bright and shiny when they're new, but become quite dull with time. What causes such a drastic change? Oxygen in the air combines with the copper in the penny to form copper oxide, which makes the penny look dull and dingy. You can make the pennies look like new again by soaking them in an acidic solution, like vinegar. Vinegar dissolves the copper oxide, making the pennies look like new. It turns out, however, that the same process that makes the pennies shiny has bad consequences… Read more
Chem_p090
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to order copper test kits online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended.
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