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Science Fair Project Ideas

MPEI is a proud supporter of local science fairs and applauds the ingenuity of science fair participants. Below, you will find a number of energy-related science fair project ideas (we recommend that students conduct them with an adult's supervision) and links to other sites with a variety of project ideas:
 

Energy Efficiency
  • The Best Light Bulb: Compare energy efficiency (i.e. electric consumption) and life expectancy of light bulbs (e.g. incandescent vs. compact fluorescent) - materials: light bulbs, socket, electric meter device
  • HVAC and Fuel Efficiency: Compare heating (and or cooling) system efficiencies (e.g. forced-air, air-source heat pump, ground-source heat pump, baseboard heater, etc.) or fuel efficiencies - materials: efficiency information and/or BTU value of fuels

 

Electricity and Magnetism
  • Electromagnetism: Construct an electromagnet and demonstrate its ability to pick up objects of varying weights - materials: magnet, wire coil, various objects
  • Self-generating Flashlight: Construct a flashlight that requires no batteries (i.e. human-powered) - materials: magnets, wire, transistor, generation mechanism (e.g. squeeze handle, shaking, etc.)

 

Electric Generation
  • Food-powered Battery: Construct batteries powered by various foods, comparing each battery's electric output, life span, construction cost and cost per kilowatt hour - materials: acidic fruit, vegetables, wire, LED light bulbs
  • "Hands-on Generator": Construct a "hands-on generator", a device that allows you to place your hands on an aluminum brass plate to measure the amount of electricity in your body (i.e. you complete a circuit by placing your hands the two plates); using this device you can compare the amount of electricity in different test subjects - materials, brass and aluminum plates, wire, DC microamperes meter
  • Self-generating Flashlight: Construct a flashlight that requires no batteries (i.e. human-powered) - materials: magnets, wire, transistor, generation mechanism (e.g. squeeze handle, shaking, etc.)
  • Temperature's Effect on Batteries: Compare the output of batteries at differing temperatures - materials: batteries, thermometer
     
Insulation
  • The Best Insulator: Compare insulation effectiveness of different materials (e.g. cellulose, batt insulation, hay, styrofoam, newspaper, etc.); ice cubes can also be used to test this hypothesis - materials:  insulation samples, thermometers, boxes
     
Renewable Energy
  • Manual Water Heater: Demonstrate friction's ability to heat water using mixers (e.g. hand crank) - materials: mixer(s),  thermometer, water, container
  • Solar Water Heater: Demonstrate the sun's ability to heat water and insulation's ability to retain heat- materials: water, container, insulation, thermometer

     

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