Materials science is a fascinating area of research that is often at the cutting edge of science and engineering. It involves both developing new materials and improving on existing ones, and has important applications both for improving daily life and for advancing other fields of research. You can try your hand at making and testing all kinds of substances from plastic to slime with our collection of materials science projects.
In the fairy tale of the three little pigs, the wolf huffed and puffed and blew down the first pig's straw house. But in reality, straw, tied into bales, is a viable building material that, when used properly, makes sturdy and energy-efficient buildings. Straw is a renewable resource that is available all over the world since it is the byproduct of growing grain. In this science fair project, you will test a straw bale covered with stucco to see if it's water resistant, and evaluate if it's…
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Long (2-4 weeks)
You need access to a local stream or creek.
High ($100 - $150)
Minor injury is possible, so wear safety goggles. Adult supervision is required. Make sure to ask for help when lifting and moving straw bales.
What happens if you hold a magnet next to water? You might think that water is not affected by magnetism, but in fact, the water is slightly repelled. Believe it or not, if the magnet is strong enough, you can use this effect to levitate objects that contain water, including insects and even small frogs! In this science project, you will learn about diamagnetism. Materials that are repelled by both poles of a magnet are called diamagnetic. The magnets you will use are not strong enough to float…
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Average (6-10 days)
You will need to purchase some materials online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Average ($50 - $100)
Neodymium magnets are extremely strong, and must be handled with care to avoid personal injury and damage to the magnets or to electronic appliances. Minor injury is possible and you should wear safety goggles whenever working with these magnets. Please read the important safety notes in the Experimental Procedure before beginning this science project.
What are the best materials to use for blocking out unwanted noise from the environment? You can build a test box (or test frame) around an audio speaker. Use a sound level meter to measure the speaker output. Use different materials to cover the walls of your test box (or frame), and see which materials do the best job at blocking the sound. For a more advanced project, perform your tests using different sound frequencies. Are some materials better at blocking certain frequencies than…
Plastics are made of polymers, chemical structures containing many repeated subunits. How does the polymer type of a plastic affect the biodegradability of the plastic? Do research on how plastic is made and what types of polymers are used for making different plastics. Can you learn to make your own plastic? What materials can you use for making plastic that is biodegradable? Test biodegradability by burying plastic samples for different lengths of time. (Kadar, 2004) Reducing solid waste…