Archive for November, 2010

Harnessing Energy

In our lives today energy in some form or the other is vital for a comfortable existence. That energy is most prevalent in our lives as electricity. For many of us there is no getting away from using electricity in one form or the other in any given day. Here is a simple science experiment.

For one day try not to use any energy which you have not harnessed yourself. Are you up to the challenge? Imagine your daily routine. Follow yourself in your mind going from one event to the next in your mundane daily existence and notice every part of your life where you use ready made energy.

Once you have identified all the energy needs that you have in a single day work out which ones you will need to replace them with. For instance if you use the car to go to school you are using energy from fossil fuels. This can be replaced by cycling to school and using human muscle energy.

You get the general idea. Now make a list of things that you will be able to do by harnessing your own energy and you will also end up with a second list of what all you can not do without ready made energy. Now here is the point of the exercise, these are things that you may not be able to do in the not too far future as we end up depleting our natural energy resources. Scary isn’t it, this science project.

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Study Craters in a Tub

Craters are formed when the surface of a planet or satellite is struck by a meteorite. The larger the size of the meteorite the bigger the crater. Here’s an interesting science experiment that reveals more about the nature of how craters are formed and how they can affect other craters.

For the small science experiment you will need a plastic tub which you can fill up with flour. Just pour it in and don’t press it down. It should stay loose and fluffy to form the craters well. Now collect some small objects such as rocks or marbles or balls. Just make sure that they have some weight so that they can form decent craters. About a glassful of cocoa power will also be needed.

Have a measuring tape ready to take readings of the lenght andwidth of each crater you will form.  And now we are ready to begin. Keep the tub on a newspaper so that you don’t make too much of a mess when the flour flies as you form each crater. Now fix a distance from the tub from which you will drop the objects into the tub full of flour.

As you drop in an object and a crater is formed gently pick up the object and measure your crater. Now sprinkle some cocoa powder into the crater before you drop the next one. Repeat the process with each crater you make. You will notice that the existing craters begin to change shape as the new ones are formed. What more do you observe? Make notes about this science project to reveal more about the nature of craters.

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Create you own Water Cycle

Think of terms such as  evaporation,condensation, precipitation and collection and the water cycle diagram springs straight to your mind. However have you considered that you can convert the simple water cycle into a science project? It is not too difficult if you put your mind to it. Consider each stage and the way you can make it happen.

Start with evaporation. All you need is some way to boil the water. You can do this by using a flame under a test tube of water. Now connect the top of this test tube with a long glass pipe. Remember the cooling process will take some time to kick in before condensation begins.Angle the glass tube at a downward angle to a test tube in which the precipitation occurs.

Now the lower test tube will collect the water that was evaporated from the original test tube. Here we have the full set of processes that the water cycle has. Simple to make if you conceptualize it well. Just make sure that the glass tube which joins the two test tubes is secured firmly.

In case it is not sealed well all the water vapour will escape your experiment area and there will be no water cycle on display. For the display board you can add a colorful diagram showing the water cycle taking place in nature. You can add definitions of the various processes involved in the water cycle. You can do so much with the display board.

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Clean Tech – Fuel from Green Sources

The fossil fuels that we use to generate energy for our many uses have been depleting at a very fast rate. Already there are worries that it may not be possible for coal power plants to stay operational for more than a few decades more. The human race has increased its demand for energy and there is no way that the traditional fossil fuels will be able to meet it at the alarming rate that the demand is growing.

This is where the hunt for alternative means of energy generation come into play. To be able to generate energy from a renewable source and not cause pollution to the environment is what proponents of clean tech are pushing. These people talk about harnessing the abundant solar energy, wind power and hydro power that is available in nature and using it to generate green energy for human consumption.

The idea is not new, as scientists have been experimenting with the concept of solar cookers and windmills for ages. Now there is just a far greater sense of urgency to find quick efficient and reliable ways to get energy that is clean and green. The general population is waking up to the need and the financial investors are now more willing to forward funds for projects that involve clean tech.

There is even a fast track section as the US Patent office for those projects which involve developing new methods of clean tech. So you can get your clean tech patent in under two months rather than the regular patent registration process which would take you two years. Hopefully some of these science projects will yield positive results and solve our energy crisis.

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Nano Techology – Science of the really small

The general assumption that most people make is that the bigger it is the better. However this branch of science begs to differ. With innumerable different science projects they have strived to prove that small may be the new big. With nano technology we talk about the science of the really really small. And I mean tinier than you can imagine small.

Most of the science projects that involve nano technology have particles so small that you can not see them with the naked eye. You have to view them with a very powerful microscope.  So how can something that is so small be of any use to a human being that seems like a giant before it?

There are many uses of nano technology. One of them is developing new materials with special properties. For instance think about space age materials. Particles that are light as a spider’s web and thinner than a normal thread but have the strength of steel. Does it sound like some science fiction novelist talking about an impossible material? It is not. This is a real invention of nano technology.

Nano technology also has many uses in medical science. There is under development a nano particle which will be shot in through the nose as a person inhales and travel straight to the lungs. From there it will be absorbed from the lymph nodes into the blood stream and head straight for the diseases part in the body. There are many more science projects in the pipeline.

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