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Talk About a Bad Hair Day!

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Areas of Science
Time Required
Short (2-5 days)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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Did you know that you can make a simple hygrometer (a device for measuring the relative humidity of the air) with hair? Search online for instructions to build one. Does the type of hair used in the hygrometer affect the accuracy of the results? Do some types of hair respond faster than others? Do some types of hair give a larger (or smaller) response? You could get hair samples from classmates, or a local beauty shop. Use hair samples of equal length to construct each hygrometer. To force changes in humidity, put a hygrometer in an air-tight container (e.g., a sealed refrigerator dish). To raise the humidity in the container, add an open cup of water. To lower the humidity, use an open container of dessicant. For each trial, keep the hygrometer in the container until the reading stabilizes. Conduct at least three trials with each hygrometer (more is better) to assure yourself that your results are consistent. (Nelson, 2004) Just think: after you do this project you'll know an instant hair-shortening treatment for next time Mom says it's time for a haircut! ;-)


Nelson, M.L., 2004. "Does Hair Type Affect Hygrometer Results?" California State Science Fair Project Abstract [accessed April 26, 2006] http://cssf.usc.edu/History/2004/Projects/J1130.pdf.
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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Talk About a Bad Hair Day!" Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/MatlSci_p035/materials-science/humidity-hair-hygrometer. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). Talk About a Bad Hair Day! Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/MatlSci_p035/materials-science/humidity-hair-hygrometer

Last edit date: 2020-11-20
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