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Project Idea
Ever try to tear a telephone book in half? Even though you can easily rip one or a few pages to shreds, the entire phone book has strength in numbers and holds together. This project is an introduction to measuring and comparing the strength of materials. Does spaghetti get extra strength if you bundle it together, or does strength simply increase proportionally with the number of strands? If you're interested in materials testing, get cracking! Read more
MatlSci_p010
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Here's a project for a budding architect or structural engineer. Can you make a strong, lightweight tower using only uncooked spaghetti and white glue? In this project, you'll learn about materials testing and apply what you learn to building and testing structures that are both strong and light. Read more
MatlSci_p009
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury possible: keep hands and feet clear when testing strength of finished structures.
Project Idea
thumbnail Build model bridges and then deliberately destroy them? Who'd be crazy enough to try that? Read more
CE_p011
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Most items can be obtained locally but may require visiting multiple stores.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Sorry, you don't get to use a jackhammer for this project, but you'll find out another way to break concrete (not to mention what makes it strongest). Read more
CE_p010
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision recommended
Project Idea
thumbnail If you love to hit the half pipe with your snowboard or skateboard, then you have tested the strength and durability of laminates. Laminates are sandwiches of different materials that are glued together in layers to give strength and flexibility to an object. In this experiment, you can test if laminating wood can make it stronger and able to support a heavier load. How much weight can it take before it breaks? Read more
MatlSci_p008
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Requires adult supervision with glue and cutting wood.
Project Idea
thumbnail This is an interesting project that explores which geometrical shapes make the strongest bridge truss structures. It is a good introduction to the engineering design process. You'll design three different trusses, and use online simulation software to analyze the distribution of load-bearing forces in each design. Then you'll build and test prototypes of each design. Read more
CE_p006
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Excellent computer skills, high school physics course
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Use caution with sharp tools when cutting wooden parts to size. Adult supervision recommended for bridge-testing phase.
Project Idea
thumbnail Did you ever notice the cool patterns around your footprints when you take a walk in the wet sand at the beach? The pressure of your feet has effects far outside your footprints. Here's a project that uses a simple experimental apparatus to investigate how the volume of wet sand changes under pressure. Read more
Geo_p023
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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 A bridge collapse, like that of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge shown below, can be a major disaster. Bridges that cannot hold enough weight to do their intended job can be a serious public safety issue. And if they collapse, they can also cause economic damage due to costly rebuilding and people and companies scrambling to figure out how to circumvent the months of traffic impacts. #* IMG 1 *# Figure 1. On August 1, 2007 the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapsed killing 13… Read more
CE_p024
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A kit for this project is available from [# Link Name="CE_p011.6" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="AquaPhoenix Education" #].
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Foundations for many types of structures rest on soil. This project shows how you can investigate the bearing capacity of different types of soil. Read more
CE_p009
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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
Through the ages, creative minds have made an amazing variety of paper toys, many of them delicate, beautiful, and inspiring. All too often, though, they do not withstand very well the wear and tear of play. This science project is your chance to fix that. You will make paper dolls with movable parts and study how the choice of materials influence the strength of the toy. Beginning with a strong design, you will finish by making a durable paper doll (or toy) with moving parts. Read more
MatlSci_p043
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available. Adult help to download and print the paper doll template is needed for this science project.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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