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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Physics, thermal expansion, temperature

Introduction

Do you like gift wrapping? If you do, you have probably curled a ribbon with scissors before. Have you ever wondered why the ribbon curls when you run a scissor blade down one side of it? The answer is that when you apply pressure on the ribbon with the blade, the outer layer of the ribbon stretches and expands. This makes the outside layer of the ribbon longer than the inside layer that is pressed against the blade. As a result, the ribbon starts to curl to make up for the different lengths of each of its layers. In this activity, you will also make materials curl. However, for these ones you won't need scissors; you will use heat instead!

Credits

Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Aluminum foil
  • Printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Candle
  • Lighter or matches
  • Adult helper
  • Optional: other material sheets (plastic, copper, etc.)
  • Optional: blow dryer
    Materials needed for the 'curl metal with heat'  activity.

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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
30-45 minutes
Key Concepts
Physics, thermal expansion, temperature
Free science fair projects.