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Others Like “Slip Sliding Away: Experimenting with Friction”

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Science Fair Project Idea
Whoopee! No matter what age, who doesn't like flying down the slides at parks and pools? In this experiment, you might be surprised what you can learn about the fascinating forces of friction while sliding down (or sticking to) those fun, slippery slopes. Caution: only speed demons need apply for this activity . . . Read more
ApMech_p022
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Minor injury possible
Science Fair Project Idea
Landslides are powerful geological events that happen suddenly, causing fear in people who live in areas with unstable hills, slopes, and cliff sides. Landslides damage the surrounding habitat and can destroy homes in their path. But what causes landslides? Can slides happen on any slope, or do slopes have to have certain characteristics, such as a steep angle and a specific material mass? In this geology science project, you will learn about the different types of landslides and the… Read more
EnvEng_p035
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues.
Science Fair Project Idea
The funny thing about friction is that you couldn't get anywhere without it, yet it still acts to slow you down as you're getting there. Here is an easy project to measure the effects of friction. Read more
ApMech_p012
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
What can you do with magnets and ball bearings that makes a lot of noise? Why, build a magnetic rifle, called a Gauss rifle, of course! Now, this rifle is not a weapon, but a way for you to learn a lot more about physics concepts, like momentum. In this physics science project, you will investigate how far a ball bearing launched by a Gauss rifle will fly, depending on how many magnetic acceleration stages are in the rifle and the ball bearing's initial velocity. This science project makes for… Read more
Phys_p081
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability For your convenience a kit is available for this project from the
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety A Gauss rifle can produce high velocity projectiles. Do not aim the gun at anyone or anything; do not put your hand in front of the projectile. Operate the Gauss rifle safely. Be sure to read the important safety notes at the beginning of the Experimental Procedure before you begin. Scissors or other metal objects may be attracted to the magnets; use caution when using metal objects near the magnets.
Science Fair Project Idea
Rockets are definitively an engineering challenge. These amazing gravity-defying machines have lifted test material, people, and even animals into space. Feel like building one yourself? In this science project, you will transform a water bottle into an aerodynamic bottle rocket with two compartments, one for the fuel and one for a payload. You will then test how well it performs when lifting mass vertically up into the air. Ready, set, soar! Read more
Phys_p098
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. See the safety note at the beginning of the Procedure.
Science Fair Project Idea
Practice makes you better at most things, and knowledge makes practice so much easier! Can you swirl a circular toy called a hula hoop around your waist or arm? Is it hard? What knowledge can you apply to find ways that make hula-hooping easier? Physics! Yes, physics will help you determine what makes one hula hoop a winner and another a flop. In this science project, you will create your own hula hoops, spin them, and draw conclusions. The road will then be open to your becoming a hula hoop… Read more
Phys_p088
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should know how to (or be willing to learn to) hula hoop around your waist or arm. Note: Hula-hooping is fairly easy if you have the right hula hoop for your body. This science project provides guidelines to make such a hula hoop.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult help is required to cut the polypipe tubing.
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever heard that two phone books with the pages interleaved are impossible to pull apart? This might seem crazy, right? It is not that hard to slide a sheet of paper off the top of a stack of paper. How much friction can there really be between sheets of paper? In this experiment, you will use pads of sticky notes instead of phone books. How much weight can they support when you interleave the pages? Do you think you will be able to pull them apart by hand? The results might surprise… Read more
Phys_p103
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Adult supervision required for testing heavier weights.
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever seen butterflies fluttering around outside, gliding through the air and landing on flowers? While they are delicate and fragile, butterflies are actually excellent flyers. They are so good, in fact, that scientists at Harvard University studied butterfly wing shapes as an inspiration for building a miniature flying robot. In this science project, you will do your own version of the Harvard scientists' experiment to measure the flight performance of butterfly wings. Read more
Aero_p049
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever ridden on a carousel, or a merry-go-round, at an amusement park? On a carousel, you usually get to take a seat on a wooden horse or other animal that spins around and around as the carousel is turned on and powered by electricity. Another smaller type of carousel that people can have in their homes is a candle carousel, which is powered by heat from candles. In this science project, you will get to make your own candle carousel and investigate how the spinning speed of the… Read more
Aero_p051
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Chemicals need to be specially ordered. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is needed for using matches, lighting candles, and using epoxy. Follow all safety precautions when using epoxy. Adult supervision is recommended when handling lit candles.
Science Fair Project Idea
Watching professional racing-car drivers compete can be thrilling. The high speeds that racing cars can reach — up to 200 miles per hour (mph) and more! — put some unique demands on the vehicles. For example, to withstand high temperatures, the tires must be inflated with nitrogen gas, instead of air as with normal car tires. This enables the drivers to have better control over steering their cars as they race around the track. In this sports science project, you will inflate… Read more
Sports_p062
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A helium tank is required to do this science project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Follow all safety precautions when using the helium tank and working with helium gas, as described on the tank's packaging.
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