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Feedback Q&A on Science Projects

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 162 comments and questions on Science Project issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 10 letters




General Wants to make a rubber band powered device India
General Science fair project classification Guatemala
General When is website updated? USA
General Experiment with waterwheel in oil Barbados
General Wants to know about Electrical Engineering Nigeria
Friction Coefficient of friction experiment South Africa
Fluids Measuring weight in water doesn't seem to work USA
Static Electricity Static electricity and hair color USA
Fluids Questions would help learning Vanuatu
Friction Does fiction depend on area of contact? Philippines

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First 10 letters

Wants to make a rubber band powered device

Topic: General


January 16, 2015

ok so i have to make some rubber-band powered devices that solve 1 technical difficulty in total and the main force of the device should come from a rubberband and we also cannot use direct manual force.
can you help me??

- India



Take a look at images of rubber band powered devices to get some ideas. I hope that helps.

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Science fair project classification

Topic: General


August 16, 2014

My name is Maria and I'm doing a science fair project. I'm doing the "Shrinking Styrofoam Cup" which consists of putting a styrofoam cup in an oil pressure. The sure particles, the pressure, and vapor cause the cup to shrink. I have a question, is this physical science: chemistry? Or just physical science: physics?

Reply as soon as possible please :)

Maria - Guatemala



It sounds like a good science fair project. It probably could be classified as Physics, since it concerns the properties of the material. But it could also be considered under chemistry since it is changing a material. So, wither one would work.

Best wishes for success in your project.

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When is website updated?

Topic: General


August 12, 2014

I would like to know when this website was last updated and the author of this website. I couldn't seem to find it anywhere and I need to cite this website for a school science project. If you don't mind, e-mail me back as soon as you can so I can continue with this part of the project. Thank you so much for your time and cooperation.

Fallon - USA



Each lesson page has a date after the author's name. If the page has been revised, it indicates that.

It is usually better to cite individual subjects, but if you want to cite the whole website, the author is Ron Kurtus and the updates are ongoing.

Best wishes fro success in your science project.

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Experiment with waterwheel in oil

Topic: General


May 17, 2014

Hello my name is Shaun Durant and I have a question pertaining to leverage. I'm working on a science project of sorts its a table top model. Basically its an artificial waterfall submerged in a lighter density fluid "oil". I'm attempting to capture the falling water with a waterwheel, however I'm not sure what dimensions will work best since water falls unusually in oil. Is this something your experts can help with? Actually the problem is slightly more complicated, I'd like to send a 30 second video clip of the prototype, this will show exactly what the problem is that I'm having. I've being advise to patent the prototype after its completion, so please, please, be discreet with the video clip. Awaiting your response, thank you for your time.

Shaun - Barbados



You really should define the purpose of your project. Is it simply to demonstrate how a waterwheel or paddle-wheel would work in a fluid? Or do you want to find the best size or shape of the waterwheel?

I understand that the water would not fall directly down in oil.

Feel free to send the video in a replay email, and I'll take a look at it. I certainly won't show it to anyone.

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Wants to know about Electrical Engineering

Topic: General


March 24, 2014

About electrical engineering

holy - Nigeria



Right now we do not have a section on Electrical Engineering. However, our section on Electricity and Magnetism can give you a start on the basics you will need to know.

Best wishes for success in your studies.

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Coefficient of friction experiment

Topic: Friction


March 16, 2014

Precautions for coefficient of friction experiment

Adolf - South Africa



It is a good idea to perform a friction experiment several times to get an average reading. If you are sliding objects, using a spring scale, you should be slide slowly and regularly.

Adding weight to the object being slid and them comparing calculations helps to get a good value.

You can also try different methods to find the coefficient of friction between two materials.

Best wishes with your experiments and measurements.

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Measuring weight in water doesn't seem to work

Topic: Fluids


March 8, 2014

Hello! I am doing this experiment with my first grade son and all of the items are weighing the exact same in and out of the water! We had assumed that they would for sure weigh less in the water when they are sinking and displacing the water above. We have tried heavier objects, larger objects, and other variations and no matter what I use the results are the same: the rock is weighing 4.6 oz on land and 4.6 oz totally submerged in water. Am I missing something? My son badly wants to be a scientist and I don't want to lead him down a wrong path of understanding science just because I'm doing something wrong! He wanted to do this due to his curiosity of why he can lift his brother in the pool but not on land. ANY help would be so much appreciated!

Megan - USA



The best way to weigh the rock is to hang it by some string from a spring scale or something similar both in air and in the water. There should be a difference in weight. Otherwise, I'm not sure why you are getting the same weight in and out of the water.

I will have to add a drawing to the experiment to clarify the method.

It is good that your son is curious, because that it the first step in becoming a scientist.

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Static electricity and hair color

Topic: Static Electricity


November 30, 2013

My name is Mrs. Latoya Bush, I have a nine year old daughter who is doing a science fair project on static electricity and hair color, and would like to get information and use it for as a resource.
1. can you please explain static electricity?

Johnae - USA



See Controlling Flyaway Hair from Static Electricity for information about the subject. Your daughter should be able to understand the material.

By brushing or combing a person's hair with a plastic comb, you can create static electricity. Red hair is usually very fine and results in flyaway hair more that thicker hair, such as black hair.

I hope that helps. Best wishes on her project.

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Questions would help learning

Topic: Fluids


November 1, 2013

this experiment is very good and it works. do you think that this will help the students if there are no questions that will contribute to the students learning and understanding? Excuse my poor English

kathrian - Vanuatu



Thank you for your suggestion. I will be adding questions and answers to the various experiments, in order to help the students learn and understand the material.

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Does fiction depend on area of contact?

Topic: Friction


July 24, 2013

Does frictional force depend on the area of contract?

Roberto - Philippines



For hard flat surfaces, the resistance force of friction is independent of the area of contact. See Standard Friction Equation for information.

However, most surfaces are not perfectly flat or hard. Variations will result in area of contact having a contribution.

Studying how friction varies with pressure, area, and flatness would be a good set of experiments.

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