Archive for June, 2011

Blowing Balloons

No party is complete without its fair share of balloon decorations. And to blow up so many balloons with the air in your lungs is quite a task. Thankfully balloon pumps make that job much easier on any one planning a party these days. Still here’s an interesting science project which will help you blow up balloons without using lung power.

What we need for this experiment are a couple of balloons, some dried yeast, little warm water, a heaped spoon of sugar, a clear plastic bottle and a large bowl in which the bottle can stand. Now here’s what we are going to do. Pour the dried yeast into the bottle. Fill the bottle one fourth with warm water. Add the spoonful of sugar and swirl the bottle’s contents.

Now place the balloon over the mouth of the bottle so that there are no leaks. Now pour some warm water into the large bowl. Place the bottle in the bowl of warm water and leave it on a warm windowsill. Come back in a while to see the progress. You will find that the balloon has magically filled up in your absence. The carbon dioxide from the yeast makes this happen. Now think up of a science project that will help speed up the process.

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Lemon Experiment

This is a small science experiment to prove if a lemon will sink or swim if placed in a glass of water. After all the fruit with its acidic juice is one of the most popular ingredients in the kitchen. It is also rather popular in making up science experiments such as writing with invisible ink.

So let’s try and learn a bit more about our yellow colored friend here. Here is what you will need for the experiment. A couple of lemons, a large glass, some water to fill up the glass, and a knife to cut the lemon. It is an easy experiment to set up. First you put the water into the glass. Do remember that you will be adding the lemon to the glass and so don’t fill it all the way up to avoid spills.

Now add the whole lemon fruit to the water glass. What do you observe? It floats. Now that we know that the whole lemon can float we are going to quarter the lemon. Do the individual quarters float? No they sink. Maybe that’s the wrong shape to cut the lemon into. Let’s try again.

This time its going to be lemon rings. Now check if these float? No they don’t. The lemon wedges and rings do not float in the water because the pulp in the lemon starts absorbing water from the glass. This makes the cut pieces heavy and they sink. While the lemon is whole you have a watertight rind making it impossible for the water to soak into the lemon. Now wasn’t that an interesting science experiment?

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The Science of Stain Removal

Have you ever wanted to get rid of a stain on your favorite t-shirt or your mom’s best table cloth? Believe it or not there’s a science project waiting to happen. Essentially the whole thing is just plain chemistry. The material that caused the stain is likely to be removed by another chemical. Lets take a look at some stains and how they can be removed.

The staining chemical needs to be dissolved in another solvent so as not to chemically bond with the fabric it has stained and become permanent. Now the most common solvent is water and if you can wash the material as soon as you drop the offending chemical on it in most cases the stain can be completely avoided. However not all stains wash off that easily.

Some will need the sterner stuff of detergents. These chemicals act as solvents to most of the known food stain possibilities. That’s why they are called powerful cleansers. However some times you may need an even more powerful solvent. There are all kinds of solvents which can be acid or alkali based. Just make sure they don’t damage the material they are trying to get the stain off.

For instance what do you do with the kind of stains that a car mechanic is likely to get on his clothes? In this case a specific grease solvent is needed. Something like a pre laundry soak would do the trick. You can make a very useful science project by tabling just what kind of solvents are needed for specific stains to be removed.

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Colors primary and secondary

Colors are all around us. We have so many different hues and shades that at times it is difficult to imagine that all of them stem from the same three primary colors red, blue and yellow. Of course it’s a simple matter to mix up the secondary colors from the primary ones and our little science project here is to do just that.

What do you get when you mix up the cellophane sheets of two different colors and shine a flashlight through them? You project a secondary color onto the wall. If you mix red and yellow you get orange. If you mix yellow and blue you will get green.  If you mix blue and red you get purple.

Now with the primary and secondary colors you can paint a rainbow. Of course the red, blue and green are considered primary colors in the computer images as the RGB combinations are used to create digital images. In fact when combined they give you the base white color for the computer screen.

Naturally colors play an important part of our lives. Without color things would be like a rainy day black, white and grey. So get out those colors and start off with your own multi hued painting adventure. You could even keep records and make a science project out of it.

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Can you separate Salt and Pepper

Mixed powers like salt and pepper can seem impossible to separate, but this handy science experiment shows you just how to do the trick. We all know that everything is essentially made up of atoms. The atom is the smallest part of a substance that retains all the physical and chemical properties of the matter.

However the atom can also be broken into three smaller parts called the protons, electrons and neutrons. Of these the protons have a positive electrical charge while the electrons have a negative charge. The neutrons as the name suggests are neutral with no charge. The atom itself is supposed to have a balanced number of these sub parts so that it retains a largely neutral effect.

So how is this going to help us separate salt and pepper? Lets first sprinkle a spoon of salt on  a plate. Now add a spoon of pepper to it and mix it lightly till the salt and pepper are well mixed. Now get a comb and a woolen cloth. When you rub the comb on the cloth you will charge it negatively. Now hover the comb over the mixture and you will find the pepper particles dancing off the plate and sticking to the comb.

How did it happen? Salt and pepper are both positively charged and the negative charge of the comb attracts them both. However as the pepper particles are lighter they fly up higher and get separated from the mix. Follow up this interesting science experiment with one of your own.

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