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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Are you fascinated by radioactivity and the emission of particles caused by the disintegration of an atom? This science project enables you to observe safely a spectacular display of radioactive decay. Following the instructions in the Procedure, you will be able to isolate a safe radioactive source and build a cloud chamber to watch the radioactive decay. Then you will use your cloud chamber to discover if a plastic lid can shield you from this type of radioactive decay particles. Read more
Phys_p086
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of, or willingness to study independently, the atomic model and what radiation is.
Material Availability Specialty items are required. See the Materials tab for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety

You will be working with radioactive material in this science project; it is completely safe as long as the simple safety instructions in the Procedure are followed.

This project uses isopropyl alcohol, a flammable product. Do not use it near an open flame or anything hot.

Dry ice is colder than regular ice and can damage your skin. Wear insulating gloves when handling it.

If you choose to take apart a smoke detector, be very careful when cutting through metal or plastic. Cut edges might be sharp. Adult help and supervision is required. Minor injury is possible.

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Electronic devices can be designed to detect dangerous fumes or other hazards, such as smoke or carbon monoxide. In this electronics project, you will build another potentially life-saving detector—a radon detector. Radon gas is radioactive and can pose a hazard to your health if you live in an area where it leaks from the ground. In this electronics science project, you will learn how to collect radon with an ordinary dusting cloth mounted on the intake of a fan, and then measure its… Read more
Elec_p064
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Since the goal of this science project is to measure radon gas, you should have access to an area that has previously tested positive for radon with a commercial radon detection system. See the Experimental Procedure section for details. This is an advanced science project that will require creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability While most of the parts for this science project are readily available, you might need to be creative about finding or making some of the parts.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Wear safety goggles when drilling and soldering. Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail What do rocks and clocks have in common? Both keep track of time. Yes, radioactive isotopes present in rocks and other ancient material decay atom by atom at a steady rate, much as clocks tick time away. Geologists use those radioactive isotopes to date volcanic ash or granite formations like the giant Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Anthropologists, archeologists, and paleontologists also use radioactive isotopes to date mummies, pottery, and dinosaur fossils. Does this sound abstract… Read more
Geo_p044
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues.
Science Fair 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 kit needs to be special ordered from the [# Link Name="Elec_p071.7" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
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
thumbnail How can seawater from the oceans be turned into fresh water that is suitable for people to drink? Through a process called solar desalination! In this science project, you will make a solar desalination apparatus using readily available materials, and a power source that is free. How much water can the device produce, and is it still salty at all? What factors affect how effectively saltwater is turned into fresh water? Read more
EnvEng_p022
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Some specialty items needed, see Materials list for details. For your convenience a Science Buddies Kit is available for purchase.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety A hand drill is needed for some steps. Adult assistance is needed for the steps involving a hand drill. All items in the Science Buddies Kit come pre-drilled, eliminating this safety issue.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Would you like some sky vegetables for dinner? How about some fresh-cut roof flowers to put in vases in your house? Around the world, rooftops are being transformed into living green expanses. Besides beauty, rooftop gardens have a number of advantages, including growing food and taking carbon dioxide out of the air while releasing breathable oxygen. But can rooftop gardens also keep your house cooler and lower your energy bill? Try this science fair project to find out. Read more
EnvEng_p026
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Use caution when using exacto knife.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you live in a place that gets cold in the winter, you have probably seen trucks out spreading a mixture of sand and salt on the streets after a snowfall to help de-ice the road. Have you ever wondered how this works? This basic chemistry project can give you some clues. Read more
Chem_p049
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Here is a project that uses direct solar power, gathering the sun's rays for heating/sterilizing water or cooking. It is a low-cost technology that seems to have everything going for it. Does it work? Can you find ways to improve it? Find out with this project. Read more
Energy_p018
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Sunlight, and fairly warm outside temperatures (>10°C, or 50°F).
Material Availability Readily Available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision recommended. The oven is designed to cook food or boil water, so use proper caution to avoid burning yourself. Also be careful with the utility knife when cutting cardboard.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Objects that glow in the dark hold a special place in the imagination of both children and adults. The lights go out at night, but these odd things refuse to disappear. Where does the light come from? Do they work in any climate? In this science fair project, you will build an electronic device that measures the light given off by luminescent materials. The device will be used to study how temperature affects luminescence. Read more
Chem_p072
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A familiarity with basic chemistry is required. Also, some experience with electronics would be helpful. Although the circuit is fairly straightforward, especially if you use the kit, this is a DIY ("do-it-yourself") project that will call for some creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability Any phosphorescent material will work for this project. If you want to use super-bright phosphorescent paints, they are available online. See the Materials & Equipment list for more information.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Use caution when using the drill or knife. Wear safety goggles when using the drill.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Every day, we produce a lot of sewage (wastewater full of feces and urine). In fact, it adds up to 6.4 trillion liters of urine alone produced worldwide each year! The sewage is collected and then treated or disposed of. But what if, along the way, there were a way to make that sewage do something useful? It turns out that human urine is rich in nutrients, and some bacteria actually thrive on eating those nutrients. There are also devices called microbial fuel cells that can generate electrical… Read more
EnvSci_p061
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Previous experience using a multimeter is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability The microbial fuel cell kit needs to be special ordered from the [# Link Name="Elec_p071.7" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
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 or power plugs, or have their fibers dispersed in the air. The fibers will cause electrical shortages when they come in contact with electronics. Wear gloves when working with human urine. Adult supervision is recommended.
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