Make Lightning Using Static Electricity

This science fair project is about creating a small spark of electricity due to the action of static electricity. Lightning in its original form has a voltage of about 100000000V.

Aim of the project:

To create a small spark using the concept of static electricity.

Materials required:

  1. A thin aluminium sheet or plate
  2. A plastic rod (a pen can be used)
  3. A block of styrofoam
  4. A piece of wool

Procedure:

  1. Take the aluminium plate and glue the pen to its middle so that it stands vertically. Make sure the pen is glued firmly.
  2. Rub the piece of Styrofoam with the woolen cloth piece. Make sure you don’t touch the styrofoam with your bare hands.
  3. Lift the aluminium plate-pen assembly by the pen and place it on the middle of the styrofoam. Be sure not to touch the plate with your hands.
  4. Switch off the lights and bring your finger close to the aluminium plate. You will see a tiny spark between your hand and the aluminium plate.

Sink Oil in Water – Fun Science Fair Project

Aim:

The aim of this science fair project is to see if oil can sink in water.

Materials Required:

  1. A tall transparent glass
  2. Thick oil
  3. Salt

How to Sink the oil

  1. Add water to the glass
  2. Now pour olive oil into the water. As usual it will float. Continue pouring till you get a 1cm thick layer of oil over the water.
  3. Sprinkle the salt on the top of the oil
  4. Observe what happens.
You will see the layer of oil sinking in water and then returning to the top after some time. This happens because oil tend to cling to salt which is heavier than both it and water. As a result the oil sinks in water. But after sometime the salt sink in oil, as it is heavier, thereby loosing its contact with the top layers of oil. So the top layers of oil becomes free and floats back to the top.

Separating Materials Using Static Electricity

Aim:

The aim of this science experiment is to conduct a simple experiment to separate different materials in a mixture using static electricity.

Materials required for the experiment:

  1. A plastic comb.
  2. A woolen cloth.
  3. A tray or a clean tabletop.
  4. Some pepper.
  5. Some sugar.
  6. Some salt.

Procedure:

  1. Keep the pepper, sugar and salt in separate heaps equidistant from each other in the tray or on the tabletop.
  2. Rub the comb on the woollen cloth brusquely.
  3. Hold the comb above the tray or tabletop. Observe which materials are attracted towards it and whether it attracts from all distances equally or not.
  4. Next, mix all three materials together thoroughly and put them in a heap at the centre of the tray or tabletop.
  5. Bring the comb above the heap. Observe which ingredients are pulled out of the heap by the comb.

Scientific explanation:

On rubbing the comb with the woollen cloth, it acquires some charge which may be positive or negative. Pepper, sugar and salt will each have a similar charge, which is positive or negative. The ingredients which have opposite charge to the charge of the comb will be attracted towards it and the ingredients with the same charge will be repelled. According to the strength of the charge on the comb, the distances over which it can attract or repel also vary.

Physics Project to Prove that Gases Have Volume

Gases are invisible, but they have volume. This means that the require space to be present and they have weight. The science fair project mentioned below is a simple experiment to prove that gases have volume.
Aim:
To demonstrate that gases occupy space.
Materials Required:
  1. Clear drinking glass(12 oz)
  2. piece of notebook paper
  3. bucket (it must be taller than the glass)
Procedure
  1. Fill the half of the bucket with water.
  2. Now wad the paper such that it takes the shape of a ball and push it to the bottom of the glass.
  3. Then the glass must be turned upside down. The paper wad must remain against the bottom of the glass.If the paper ball falls, make it a little bigger. (Note that you hold the glass vertically with its mouth pointing down. Push the glass into the bucket filled with 3/4th of water straight down. DO NOT TILT the glass when you lift it out of the water.)
  4. Finally remove the paper and observe it.
Results:
We can see that the paper is dry.
Why is it so?
The taken glass is filled with air. When you push the glass into the bucket, the air prevents the water from entering it and thus the paper continues to remain  dry.

Weight of a Car Experiment- How much a Car weighs

How much does your car weigh?

This is a simple but great science experiment to find out the weight of a car without actually weighing it.

Materials Required:

  1. Ruler
  2. Card boards
  3. Tire Gauge
  4. Car

Note:

Make sure you have the assistance of an adult.

Principle:

This experiment works on the simple principle that the car’s total weight is distributed among each of the four tires.

Weight is calculated by knowing the area of contact of the tire and the pressure of tire.

Area (square inches)is multiplied by the internal pressure of tire (Kilogram per square inch). The square inches cancel of each other and you are left with kilogram or the weight of the car.

Procedure:

Part one is to find the contact area of the tire

  1. Place pieces of cardboard tightly under the wheel.
  2. A print of the wheel is obtained, which is almost rectangular in shape.
  3. Find the contact area of a wheel, by multiplying the length and breadth of the rectangle.

Now that the first part is over, Let us move on to the second part. The second part is to find the internal pressure of the tire.

1)      Connect the tire to a tire gauge and note the reading.

Since we have the area of contact as well as the internal pressure of the tire, all you got to go is take their product. The product is the weight of the car.

Result:

The weight of the car is obtained. See how close your value to the original weight of the car by checking its manual.

Sound Through Different Mediums

Aim:

To conduct a simple experiment to understand how sound is transmitted through different mediums.

Materials required:

  1. Coat hanger.
  2. A 3 or 4 feet long piece of thread.

Procedure:

  1. Loop the middle of the thread over the hook of the coat hanger and wraps the ends around the index finger on each of your hands.
  2. Stick your index fingers into your ears and ask your friend to strike the coat hanger with a ruler or some other hard object. Listen to the sound of a huge gong.

Scientific explanation:

Sound is transmitted through many mediums. We usually hear sound transmitted through air but it is more effectively transmitted through other mediums. When your friend strikes the coat hanger with a ruler, vibrations are produced. But these vibrations are too small to be transmitted through air to your ears. However, when the thread is used, the vibrations are very efficiently transmitted to your ears and you hear a huge sound similar to that of a gong.

Drive a Boat Using Soap

Aim:

To study the effect of soap molecules spreading in water using an interesting experiment.

Materials required:

  1. A large pan with some water in it.
  2. Some foil paper.
  3. A pair of scissors.
  4. A soap solution.
  5. A matchstick.

Procedure:

  1. Perfectly flatten the foil paper using a flat surface and then cut out a ‘boat’ using scissors. (don’t worry, it is just a 2D boat, see the pic below)
  2. Make a small channel at one end of the boat with a small circular cavity at the end of the channel. (See the pic below)
  3. Place the boat gently on the surface of the water in the dish.
  4. Dip the matchstick in the soap solution and carefully deposit a drop or two of soap solution in the cavity of the boat. The boat will accelerate quickly and speed across the water in the opposite direction of the channel.

Water Trick – A science Fair Project with Cold and Hot Water

Materials Required:

  1. A sink or basin
  2. A square piece of waxed paper
  3. Red and green food colour
  4. Cold water
  5. Hot water
  6. Two identical jars

Procedure:

  1. Pour hot water into one of the jars. Carefully, position the jar over the basin or sink. Put a few drops of green food colour into the hot water. Fill the jar with more hot water till it becomes full.
  2. Take the other jar, and fill it with cold water. Put few drops of red food colour into the jar. Observe whether the red colour spreads in the cold water.
  3. Cut the wax paper into a square shape such that it can cover the mouth of the jar
  4. Place the square card cautiously over the mouth of the jar containing the red colour. Press the card mildly with your fingers. Make sure the card is flat and even.
  5. Flip the jar along with the card and place it over the jar containing the green liquid.
  6. Observe, what happens.
  7. Repeat the experiment by inter changing the hot and cold containers.
  8. Observe the difference.

Result:

When there is hot water on top, no mixing takes place. But when it is cold water on top, the hot water from below goes up and mixing of colours happens and a brown fluid is formed.

What made this happen?

Cold water is denser than hot water. The waxed paper is porous ie, allows transfer of liquids through it. When the denser cold water is placed over the lesser denser hot water, the denser liquid sinks to the bottom while the lighter liquid goes up.

Angular Diameter of the Sun Science Project

Aim:

To measure the diameter of the sun with the help of a simple experiment.

Materials Required:

1.      One bottle with 2 liter capacity.

2.      A small mirror made of thermoplastic (less than 0.5cms * 0.5cms).

3.      A stand to hold the bottle in place. (Books or even bricks can be used to hold it firmly).

4.      Glue -hot enough to paste the mirror to the bottle.

5.      Water to fill the bottle.

6.      Hard white viewing board preferably a poster board.

7.      Stopwatch and a pencil.

Procedure:

1.      Make a stand to hold the bottle firm enough so that it doesn’t roll off.

2.      Paste the mirror somewhere at the centre along the length of the bottle.

3.      Fill up the bottle with water

4.      Now place the bottle with its stand outside such that the mirror faces the sun, directly. Take the viewing screen, stopwatch and pencil along with you.

5.      Hold the viewing screen a few meters away from the mirror. You may need a partner to hold the screen on place. Rotate the bottle such that you get an image of the sun on your viewing screen.

6.      The image formed on the screen is best only when the mirror is perpendicular to sun’s rays and the screen is somewhat parallel to the mirror. This set up is easy to configure when the sun is closer to the horizon. Observe the image. Mark it using a pencil on the poster board.

7.      Use the stopwatch to keep track of the time as the image of the sun moves completely out of the first image (circle). Stop the time and trace the second image. Repeat this several times. (At least five measurements, This experiment will take a whole day or two.)

8.      Now alter the size of the image by varying the distance of the screen from the mirror. Repeat as above i.e. by marking the images on the poster board and by keeping track of the time.

The mirror on the bottle is forming images of the sun on the screen. As a result we get two similar triangles. One of them is an isosceles triangle. The base of the isosceles triangle is sun’s diameter here with its sides as the rays coming from each sides of the sun’s diameter towards the mirror. The other image formed on the screen is similar to the one on the mirror with its base as the sun’s diameter while sides formed out of rays coming out of the two ends of the diameter. As these triangles are similar therefore the angular diameter of the image formed on the screen should be equal to the angular diameter of the sun up above. We calculate the sun’s angular diameter as follows:

The rotation of earth causes the image to shift continues across the screen. The earth completes one rotation i.e. 360 degrees in 24 hours. So by unitary method we get that it rotates by 15 degrees every hour i.e. 0.25 degrees every minute. From observation we saw that it takes 2 minutes for the sun’s image to move by “one sun diameter”. This would be the same for larger and smaller images as it is a measure for earth’s rotation which is a constant. The following formula can be used:

15 degrees/60 minutes= X degrees/2 minutes

X= sun’s angular diameter.

Catherine Wheel using a Milk Carton

Aim:

To demonstrate the working of a Catherine wheel or turbine and understand Newton’s third law using a simple experiment.

Materials required:

  1. Some water.
  2. An empty milk carton.
  3. Some string.

Procedure:

  1. Poke a hole through the top flap of the empty milk carton and use a string to suspend it from the ceiling.
  2. Poke holes in the lower right corner of all four sides of the empty carton.
  3. Keeping the holes plugged, fill the carton with water. Now open the holes and let the water flow out. You will see the carton rotate it in one direction as the water flows out.

Scientific explanation:

According to Newton’s third law of motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Hence when water flows out of a hole in the carton, it pushed the carton in the opposite direction. Since the holes are at the lower right corner of each face, this reaction forces the carton to spin in one direction. This is the basic working of a turbine too. Energy of flowing water is converted into rotational motion.