Archive for December, 2011

Can we use Gravity as a source of energy?

With the fast depleting fossil fuels the scientific minds in the world are turning to generating alternative means of energy. However when we say alternative energy we think of things like solar energy, wind energy and water turbine energy. Rarely, if at all do we think of tapping into the ever present gravitational energy present all over the earth.

So how can we use gravity, which is the pull that physical objects have between them, as a source of energy to run simple devices? The answer may be as simple as the hourglass that the Swizz designed to keep time, or as complex as the gravity powered motors that scientists are experimenting with these days.

One of the most enthralling uses of gravitational power was envisioned by Clay Moulton, a graduate student at Virginia Tech. He came up with a Gravity lamp which was powered by a series of weights that slid down to the floor and had to be replaced at the top again. The pull of gravity is endless and as long as the human element keeps placing the specific weights on top.

While the gravity based lamp is not yet ready for mass production, the technology can definitely be improved upon. So what are you waiting for? Get going on your own version of a gravity powered device for your science fair project today.

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Testing Gravity

What goes up must come down. That we know is the power of gravity. Gravitational pull is the force that the planet exerts upon all the objects that are in its vicinity. This pull extends from the surface, where it is the strongest, to some distance in the atmosphere, where it becomes weaker as you go higher.

The force was first noticed by Newton who fell asleep under an apple tree and was rudely awoken when an apple fell on his head. That is when he began thinking about why things always fall downwards. This eventually led to his tabulating the laws of gravity.

There are many fascinating questions that you can come up with about gravity. These can lead to equally interesting science projects and experiments. There is of course the famous experiment about a feather and a brick being dropped from a great height to check which comes down faster.

In addition to this experiment you can come up with others of your own. Newton and Einstein may have done their bit but it is by no means the end of the topic. You can still come up with a great many different ways to test gravity and make it an interesting science project.

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Magnet Cars Racing Track

The best kinds of science fair projects are the ones which are interactive. This is one such science project which utilizes the principle of magnetism. It is easy to make and fun to use. Here is how we will make a magnet cars racing track.

Things you will need include two toy cars, four magnets and one cardboard sheet for the track. Now attach one magnet to the back of each toy car. Remember to use light weight cars that move well without much friction. That way when you bring the magnet in your hand close to the car it will repel against the magnet in the car and move forward.

Now design your race track on the cardboard sheet. Use your imagination and art supplies to create the track and its surroundings. Put up trees, tyre stacks and other buildings on the track.You can even make an area for spectators and populate it with action figures.

Color it up in the manner that you like and leave it to dry. Once the track is ready put the two race cars on to it and have a race with your friend.This is a simple to make science project that can spell lots of hours of fun.

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How can a Robot help a Human

The whole purpose behind creating a robot is to help a human being do his chores easily. They are created to help us. However not all the science projects dedicated to robotics deal with helping normal healthy human beings with specialized tasks.

In fact more and more robotics engineers are now designing robots that help old, infirm, or unhealthy people with regular day to day tasks. Things like  going shopping, putting away the groceries, helping a person get from the bedroom to the bathroom, and similar tasks are becoming more and more common.

Why do we need robots to help us in such tasks? Though the human touch of a caregiver is always much better, the common and repetitive tasks can prove quite taxing for the caregiver. This is where a robot helper can become invaluable.

The robot does not tire easily, is able to perform the same task again and again no matter how often you ask it to, without getting bored or complaining about it. This may make them better suited to such tasks than human beings are. Of course the robot can never replace the human caregiver, but as successful science experiments have shown, it can be a major help.

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Blue Goo helps clean up radiation

At times the simplest science projects can be the best. This is proved true by the blue goo which is currently being used to clean up radioactive toxic waste. The simple working blue goo needs to be poured over the affected area where it will absorb the nuclear waste and then peeled off.

Nothing could be simpler as per its creators CBI Polymers. The Hawaii based company said that the superabsorbent goo tends to act like a sponge which binds up the hazardous material. The radioactive waste is now in the form of an easy to roll sheet which can be more easily diposed off than vats of toxic water.

The blue goo even made a trip to Japan to help in the nuclear clean up process there in the aftermath of the tsunami. The blue goo works well on walls, sidewalks and playgrounds. It can clear PCBs, asbestos, heavy metals and non industrial messes.

It may not look very high tech or sound like much of a science project, but the labor involved in cleaning up toxic wastes can be cut by 70% by using this special blue goo. And guess what, for a more humble application? It can clean germs from your keyboard too.

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