Home Page of Peggy E. Schweiger
Abstracts of Science Fair Projects
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Motion: Kinematics in One Dimension
- I conducted my science fair project to find out how stride length affects a personís speed.
I wanted to know if a person with longer legs naturally walked faster than a person with short legs.
I used people with various stride lengths to get accurate results.
- I conducted my science fair project to find which parachute shape works the best. I cut out
different shapes from fabric. I got different weights and tied them to the strings attached to the
parachute. I then went up to a predetermined height and dropped the parachutes two times for
each weight. I timed the parachuteís flight. From this I determined which shape was the best.
- My science fair topic was to test the effects of age on people's reaction times. I chose the age
groups to test to be 6-10 years of age, 16-20, and 40-50. To get the children I visited a day care
center. To test each individual I used a meter stick and told them to sit with their dominant handís
elbow on the corner of a table with their index finger and thumb and inch apart. Without warning I
would drop the meter stick and record the distance in centimeters the stick fell. To determine the
reaction time you have to put the distance the stick fell into an equation and then compare the results.
- I did a project comparing the length of ten horses' legs and how high they could jump. The same rider and same
jumps were used for each horse. First, I measured the length of the legs by measuring in inches from the elbow to the
bottom of the hoof. Each jump began with a minimum height of three feet. If the horse didn't touch or refuse the jump,
then the jump would be raised two inches. I found that the longer the horse's legs were, the higher that they could jump.
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Kinematics in Two Dimensions
- I conducted an experiment find how the actual flight of a soccer ball compared to its empirical
trajectory. To do this, I tested subjects and took pictures of the ball's flight. After measuring the distance
and height from the pictures, I graphed the trajectory from my information. Finally I estimated the initial
angle and the initial velocity of each kick and compared these to what was experimentally found.
- I conducted my science fair topic on stride length of athletes. I used 25 men and 25 female
runners to determine if a difference of stride length effects the time it take to run a 400,200, and 100
meter run. The runners had to run a 400 meter run at a normal stride and then at a super-elongated
stride or the longest stride possible. Then I had them repeat the same trials at the 200 and 100 meter
run as well.
- My science fair project was to find the acceleration due to gravity in Houston. The tool that
I used to find the acceleration was a pendulum, which I had to construct. I kept the amount of
cycles constant and varied the length of pendulum.
- I gathered five weights of different masses and dropped each mass five times and measured the height of their fist bounce
with a suspended meter stick. I also measured the exact time of the first bounce. I calculated the upward acceleration of each
mass to determine if it was constant.
- My experiment tested the jumping ability of subjects compared to their height using projectile motion. Though the required
amount of subjects is 50, I would recommend that at least 100 subjects be tested for this experiment to be conclusive. The subjects'
potential energy at the top of their parabolic flight was interpreted as their jumping ability. These potential energies showed how
much the subject(s) counteracted gravity.
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Motion and Force: Dynamics
- My experiment involved the coefficient of friction for running shoes. I used spring scales to
find the weight of the shoe, and then pulled the shoe at constant speed so the unbalanced force
would equal zero. With this information, I was able to calculate the coefficient of friction to
compare the shoes. This project could be useful in determining the traction of a shoe on different
- The experiment that I conducted involved testing the coefficient of friction of several different
substances on three different surfaces. The control was the length of the incline; the variable was
the type of lubricant used. When a lubricant was applied to the object, the length of time it took to
reach the end of the ramp was recorded. After all the times had been determined, the coefficient of
friction of each was found through calculations, thus determining the best type lubrication for each
- I conducted an experiment that tested how the normal, parallel, and frictional forces were affected
by the angle of an inclined plane. The control was the length of the inclined plane and the object used.
The variable was the angle at which the incline was set; I increased it every trial run. I timed the object to
determine the velocity. I then calculated the acceleration and all the forces.
- For my experiment, I tested what force was required to push a balloon powered cart up a
20 degree incline ramp. In my hypothesis, I predicted a certain force that I believed would be the
force required. The control was the 20 degree incline. The variable was the force exerted by the
balloon. By measuring the time, distance and mass of the cart, I was able to calculate the velocity,
acceleration and the force exerted by the balloon.
- In my experiment my goal was to find the amount of friction and coefficient of friction that
different types of shoes had. I did this by measuring the normal force or weight with a spring scale.
Then I measured the frictional force of each shoe on wood floors with a spring scale. After I did
this I calculated the coefficient of friction.
- In my science fair project, I tested to see which adhesive could withstand the most force. I tested by
pasting the adhesive onto two pieces of cardboard and let them sit for a certain period of time. The
control variable in my project was the cardboard and the independent variable was the actual
adhesives. The experiment tested the elasticity of the adhesives.
- I determined the coefficient of friction of different basketball shoes. I found the normal force
(weight) of each shoe by hanging them from a spring scale. Then each shoe was dragged across
a wooden floor, in order to represent a basketball court, at constant speed. This then measured the
frictional force of each shoe.
- I made an inclined plane from a 2-meter board. I used my old pinewood derby car to roll down. Also I determined the
parallel and normal forces that acted on the car. By rolling the car down the plane on sandpaper, tile, and wood surfaces, I
measured its acceleration. From this data I calculated the coefficients of friction of the three surfaces.
- For my experiment, I tested the amount of friction that different road surfaces produced with a miniature cart. The road
surfaces used were asphalt, poorly paved concrete, well-paved concrete, and dirt. After initial testing I poured water on these
surfaces and tested again. My hypothesis was that the asphalt would have the right amount of friction for good traveling. Each
experiment was performed with the cart ( a small toy), a stand of approximately 90 cm (to use gravity to accelerate the cart),
and a small weight to pull the cart.
- In my experiment, I tried to find which material has the greatest coefficient of friction. Using a box and a spring scale, I
measured the amount of fprce used to pull the box at constant speed on different material grounds. The ground types were rubber,
wood, tile, carpet, and brick. Once I found the amount of force used on each different material; I then calculated the coefficient of
- My science project determined whether the coefficient of friction was greater when the surface was dry or wet. I used objects
such as a bar of soap, metal car and block of wood on many surfaces at a constant height and pulled at constant velocity. I
measured the force using a spring scale. Knowing the force of friction determined, I solved for the coefficient of friction. I tried each
object many times to get an accurate reading.
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Work and Energy
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- In this experiment, a scale-model of a Roman catapult was built, then threaded with skeins of different materials. Because
each material stored torque with different levels of efficiency, the catapult fired a projectile different distances for different
materials. By averaging and comparing these distances, I was able to calculate which skein material was most efficient in
storing and releasing torque.
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Bodies in Equilibrium: Elasticity and Fracture
- I tested copper wire to find the elastic modulus of copper. This is the property of a material which
determines how much stress the material can withstand before it eventually fails (breaks). I went about
testing by measuring the natural length of the wire, suspending it, and then adding weight to it and
finding how much the length changed. I used different caliber wires and took an average of all my
findings to determine an experimental value for copperís elastic modulus.
- My science fair project was to determine the youngís modulus for copper( E= stress /strain).
The control in the experiment was the copper coil, and the variable was the amount of weight hung
from the copper coil.
- : In my science fair project, I measured the water absorption in various kinds of commonly
found woods. All the wood samples were of the same volume and submerged for the exact same
amount of time. I measured their weight each day and recorded it in a log. All results were
compiled for each type of wood, and an equation was formed displaying the amount of water
absorbed to the time it was soaked. I determined the change in the wood's elasticity from absorbing
- The experiment was to compare the effect of hydrogen peroxide on Dean Markley strings. I compared one set of strings
not immersed in hydrogen peroxide to one set that was. I placed these strings on my guitar, playing for an hour a day. Playing
the same play list, I was able to track amount of times tuned as well as days until breakage. Finally I was able to come up with
a times tuned per day average and found that hydrogen peroxide severely corroded the set under investigation.
- I constructed a truss bridge out of balsa wood to test for tensions on different beams. I used torques and vectors to analyze
the various tensions without added weight. Then I added increasing weight to the structure until it collapsed and analyzed these
tensions. I then compared the two to determine how the truss distributed the weight.
- To conduct this experiment 11 identical cubes were formed out of 1/5 cm. diameter balsa wood. Next one of each
support brace was placed on three of the cubes leaving two for the constants. The support braces consisted of x-braces,
columns, and arches. To conduct the experiment sand was placed on top of each structure until it crumbled. The average
weight held was calculated for each type of brace leading to the determination of the most efficient brace.
- My science fair project was to determine how temperature affected white pinewood's durability. The control in my
project was the white pinewood. The variable would be the different temperatures that were used. Place the wood at different temperatures, and test how much weight they hold.
- I built several test pieces of fiberglass to test for two pieces of data. I built them using different construction techniques to test
for strength and efficiency. I had two control pieces, one of all fiberglass mat and one of all fiberglass cloth. The three other pieces
were a combination of cloth and mat. Afterwards I tested each for the amount of flex using a mass and then weighed them.
- My experiment found how much stress over strain it took to snap an aluminum wire. The control of the experiment is going to
be the original piece of the aluminum wire. The variable in this experiment is going to be the amount of weight need to snap the
wire. I found the Young's modulus of an aluminum wire.
- In my science fair experiment, I compared actual human skin to AlloDermģ skin (skin that has been decellularized by a
company called LifeCell. It is now being used for transplants rather than taking the patient's own skin). I wanted to see which one
could handle the heaviest load of stress before breakage occurs.
- In my science fair experiment, I tried to find the experimental value of the modulus of pine. I bought pine dowel at the hardware
store and placed weights on top of it. I first measured the original length of the dowel without weight on it and I then measured its
length with weight on it. I also measured the cross sectional area of the dowel.
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- In my experiment, I tested what the effects that different shapes of airfoils had on lift.
I constructed one true airfoil and three others of different shapes. The control was the true airfoil.
The variable was the shape of the other airfoils. I measured the height of lift that each airfoil had
and then compared these heights to the control.
- I tested methods of crude-oil removal. Among tested methods were human hair, polypropylene
pad, and an oil drum. My control was the amount of seawater used to test, and the amount of
crude oil. My variable was the different methods of removing the oil from the water. I tested each
method to see which one was fastest at removing the oil.
- I determined if the viscosity (ability to flow) of a liquid affects the boiling point. I gathered five
different liquids. I then poured these through a tube and funnel and timed how long it took to run
through the tube. Next, I individually boiled each liquid and timed it and recorded the data. My
control was the amount of liquid used, and the variable was the type of liquid used.
- My experiment exhibited the decent rates of different sizes of parachutes. The control of the
experiment was the nose cone, and the length of the descent. The variable was the size of the
parachute. The parachutes were dropped from a second story balcony indoors to control factors
such as wind. My hypothesis was that if multiple parachutes were dropped from the same height
with the same nose cone, then the parachute with the largest surface area would have the lowest
- I found how buoyant force varied with different liquids. After submerging an object in the liquid without allowing it to
touch the bottom, I used a spring scale to measure the apparent weight and calculated the buoyant force and then compared
- The object of this experiment is to predict the effect air pressure has on a soccer ball when it is kicked. I used a
pendulum contraption made out of PVC pipe and an old soccer shoe. I predicted how far and how fast the ball would travel
at different air pressures then I calculated the actual distance and velocity of the soccer ball.
- In my project, I determined the viscosity of different liquids and found how the viscosity affected the boiling point.
The viscosity is the measurement of how thick a liquid is. I used several different liquids, poured them trough a pipe, and timed
how long it took them to exit the pipe. Then I was able to find the flow rate and plug the numbers into a formula to find the
viscosity. I then boiled each liquid and found the temperatures that they boiled at. Then I compared the numbers and found
how the boiling point was affected.
- For science fair, I studied circular airfoils. Using small tubes of poster board with varying circumferences, I "flung" the tube
with a strand from a bungee chord attached to a single plywood board. The band wrapped twice around the perimeter of the tube.
Upon release, the tubes would fly up and out. Measuring the height of the tube's path becomes the recorded data. Each tube has
the same surface area as another tube, so if you test tubes of different surface areas you can develop a constant that represents
surface area versus circumference.
- My project involved proving if Stokes' Law in the form drag x time = constant applied to different-shaped objects
, as the law was proven for spheres by Sir George Gabriel Stokes. It involved dropping four different-shaped objects into corn oil
and honey (the objects being a rectangular prism, a sphere, a cone, and a cylinder) two times a piece. The sphere was used as a
constant because it had been proven, and I added an additional variable of dropping the objects into different-sized graduated
cylinders (250 and 500mL).
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Vibrations and Waves
- My experiment compared how different frequencies cause a laser to reflect differently off of a mirror attached to a
speaker. I hypothesized that the different frequencies would cause the speaker to be in a different position. Using a frequency
generator I sent the frequency to a speaker with a mirror attached to it. I bounced a laser off the mirror and marked where the
laser was reflected to on a piece of paper. By comparing the marks I was able to determine if the hypothesis was right.
- In my experiment I measured the number of waves produced when weight is added to four different types of guitar strings.
Using a string vibrator a guitar string was attached to one end and weight was placed on the other end. I determined the wavelength which
I used to calculate a value for the speed of the wave on the string. Knowing the tension on the string and its linear density,
I also calculated a value for the speed of the wave on the string. I compared my two results to determine how tension changed
the speed of a wave.
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- My project consisted of a series of tests comparing the effect of temperature on pitch. For this, I used a trumpet and
various methods of manipulating temperature. I employed an electronic tuner to collect the data. Through many tests at various
different temperatures, I identified the relationship between pitch and temperature.
- My project was to experimentally determine which barrier would reduce the most noise when placed in front of a residential
area. I used natural as well as man-made barriers. My hypothesis was that the highest barrier would have the least amount of
noise behind it. I took the decibel level behind each barrier and compared results.
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- I conducted my science fair on insulation. I exposed different materials to heat. I then measured
the temperature. By comparing temperatures, I concluded which material was the most efficient insulator.
- I created a convection current made by an extreme difference in temperature (a heat lamp and regular ice) using dry ice
as a visual. I used a control experiment to compare the results of the different conditions I subjected it to; such as surrounding
temperature, varying amounts of ice, and the wattage of the light bulb used in the heat lamp. I timed the rate of the current's
flow, the length of time it took to start and the diameter as the data to compare with the control experiment. Then I was able to
conclude its practical use by comparing it with a hurricane, relating that the experiment conveyed the same factors that alter the
nature of a hurricane.
- I took a computer that I assembled and constructed three different cooling systems for it. The first was a plain heatsink,
the second was a heatsink and a fan, and the third was a gas expansion type cooling system. I tested all three methods looking
for the lowest-temperature and therefore the fastest performing processor.
- For my project, I tested which thermal insulator would keep the human body warm. I tested several different substances--
both natural and mand-made. My control was air. I simulated the human body temperature with a jar that was filled with water
the temperature of the human body, this was surrounded by the insulator in a plastic bag that was in a container.
- My project was a test of the effectiveness of insulators on ice cubes. I froze chunks of ice (as near equal mass as possible)
and then tested to see which materials I covered them with prolonged the melting process best. For each material I
constructed a box or covering to insert the ice chunk into. I then timed each and repeated 4 times for each. My control was
an uncovered ice chunk.
- My experiment was conducted to see if insulation would stop insulating at extreme temperatures. I used three different types
of insulation and an oven and a freezer. I constructed cylinders out of the insulation and put them in the freezer and the oven and
checked their temperatures at short intervals in time.
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- In my experiment, my objective was to make a Tesla Coil large enough to power various light
sources. I constructed and demonstrated a working and fully functional Tesla Coil. I proved that a fluorescent light bulb would fully light up to 12 feet away with no wires
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DC & AC Circuits
- My science fair was an investigation how current changed when resistors were placed in series
and when in parallel. I used Ohm's Law to compare the total resistances of resistors placed in series
and resistors in parallel.
- I made a circuit board and tested the power loss in a resister. I tested three different gauge wires. These wires ran
through a 270,000 ohm resisters, so that the results would be measurable. A voltmeter read the initial voltage output and the
voltage that actually passed through the resister. An ammeter read current. These results were combined with formulas to
produce the amount of power loss.
- I attempted to prove a formula for the angular frequency of the oscillations of a circuit containing a capacitor and an
inductor. I anticipated that the LC (capacitor/ inductor) circuit would produce a frequency on an oscilloscope that would
prove similar to the formula's expectation. The variable was the capacitor in the circuit for each trial.
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- I took a moderately powerful bar magnet and heated it to different temperatures to see how its magnetism was affected.
Starting at room temperature, I tested at what distance the magnet attracted some small iron balls. I then heated the magnet to
given temperatures to see how the magnetism was affected due to the distance at which the magnet attracted the balls.
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- I conducted my experiment on proving Fermatís law of reflection and Snellís law of refraction. I
used a laser pointer and water to experimentally prove them. Angles were measured using a protractor
and then plugged into the equations to test them. This experiment required lots of research and careful
measurements. Even small mis-estimations led to high percentages of error.
- My science project was testing the refraction of light in transparent liquids. I predicted that water would have the lowest
index of refraction and that corn syrup would have the highest index of refraction. I used a laser pen and I shone it through
the liquid at a 40 degree angle, and then I measured the angle at the other end of the glass with the liquid. The results were
interesting to see, and I used Snell's Law to find the index of refraction.