Winning Middle School Science Fair Projects
Faraday's Law of Induction- How Magnetic Fields Excite Electrons and Generate Electricity in a Simple Generator
This was my 5th grade and first science fair project. I was always fascinated by magnets and after reading about Michael Farady, I was inspired to reproduce his first experiment that lead to Faraday's Law of Induction. We use magnets everyday in life without realizing it and I wanted to consider using Faraday's Law of Induction as part of a renewable source for clean energy.
The purpose of this project was to detrmine if it was possible to create clean energy by having a magnet generate electricity with a magnet-powered motor-generator. My hypothesis was that by increasing the strength and number of magnets and adding additional coils I would be able to produce enough electricity to power a 2-3 volt lamp.
Proof of the magnetic field was found by using the Mysterious Magnetic Tube with an Alnico magnet and iron filings and photographing the magnetic field with magnetic viewing film. The strength of the Alnico and Neodymium magnets was measured using metallic filaments. The polarity of the magnets was determined using a compass. Faraday's experiment was re-created by wrapping a paper tube 250 times with copper wire and pulling Alnico magnets through the tube. A modern magnetic-powered Motor-Generaotr was constructed using magnet wire, a rotor, iron cores, nails, screws, a wood block, and bolts. The electricity generated by using one, two, and three coils and one to six Neodymium magnets was measured with a Galvanometer. Tests were then conducted to illuminate a 2-3 volt light emitting diode and a 2.3 volt (600uA) Krypton flashlight lamp.
Factors that affected the results: number of mganets, number of coils, and rotor revolution speed. By adding more magnets, more electrons were excited alng the coil and the voltage increased. By adding more coils, the effect of the electron's force was was intensified and the voltage increased along with the luminance. The faster tthat the rotor was spun, the more force on the electrons whci resulted in a greater flow in current. The more coils that were added to the Motor-Generator and the faster that the rotor revolved; the greater the electrons fell on the diode resulting ina grighter light. Upon completion of my experiment I was able to successfully illuminate a 2-3 volt light emitting diode, unfortunately I was not able to light a Krypton flashlight lamp.
Based on the finding of this project, I determined that you can create clean energy by having a magnet generate electricity. I believe the reason why the Motor-Generator could not power the Krypotn flashlight lamp was because it's rotor couldn't spin continuously in order to generate enough constant energy to illuminate the light buld.
Admczyk, Peter/Francislaw, Paul. Electricity and Magnetism. England: Usborn Publishing Ltd., 1993.
'Electricity'. DK Eyewitness Books, DK Publishing, Inc., 2005.
'Elementary Engery Infobook'. US Engergy Information Administration Department of Education, 2010. www.need.org, 2010.
Gardener, Robert. Electricity and Magnetis Science Fair Projects. Enslow Publishers, 2010.
Paker, Steve. Electricity and Magnetism. Chicago, Illinois: Heinemann Library, 2005.
Discovery Channel School. Pull the Magnetism Files. Wisconsin Ave. Bethesdand: DiscoveryCommunications Inc., 1999.
Wainwright, L. Camille. Electricity and Magnetism Prentice Hall Science Explorer. Bosto,Ma.: Person Prentice Hall, 2007. Williams, L. Pearce. 'Michael Faraday'. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2010.
(5th grade students are not allowed to enter state or national fairs)
Wave Power- The Utilization of Marine Waves Using Wave Buoys to Generate Electricity
This was my 6th grade science fair project. The previous year I experimented with Faraday's Law of Induction and found that I had a passion for electricity. This year, when it came time to select my science fair project, I decided I wanted to create an experiment that worked off of the same principle as Faraday's Law of Induction. I also wanted to express my love of engineering. I believed that there were more efficient ways to generate electricity without harming the environment. I knew that there were experiments going on with wave power and therefore I decided to try and build my own point absorber.
The purpose of my project was to determine if you can harness the power of ocean waves by using a point absorber based on Faraday’s Law of Induction to generate electricity. My hypothesis was that I would be able to generate electricity by using a point absorber in the form of wave buoy.
My apparatus creates a way for the kinetic energy of waves to transfer their motion to my device and generate electricity. This process moved a 36” stainless steel ruler with (5) one tesla neodymium iron boron magnets on either side, back and forth through two copper wrapped coils with 1000 turns of wire.
I conducted three separate tests; one indoor simulation, one in the Assonet bay, and one in a swimming pool.
For my indoor test, I tested my1 tesla magnets one at a time by putting them on the 36” stainless steel ruler and rocking my device back and forth at designated heights of 1”, 4”, 6”, and 12”. I tested each of my independent variables, magnets, coils, and wave height fifteen times.
My next step was to test it in the Assonet bay and an outdoor swimming pool. I was able to get readings of 5 magnets with one and two coils in 1” and 4” man-made waves. Due to physical limitations I could only test 5 magnets at a time in open water. I did all my testing with a volt meter set at 20 AC volts.
There were four factors that affected my project: number of magnets, wave height, number of coils, and the physical limitations of being out on the open water. Each time a magnet was added, more electrons were excited along the coil and the voltage increased. When the waves got higher, the faster they moved the magnets through the coils, thus exciting a greater number of electrons resulting in increased voltage. Increasing the number of coils intensified the electrons’ force and slightly more than doubled the amount of AC volts generated. While wave height played a significant role in voltage generation; the number of coils was the most important variable.
Based on the findings of this project, you can harness the power of ocean waves by using a point absorber based on Faraday’s law of induction to generate electricity. Similar technology is currently used in five places around the world and can be a cost effective and environmentally friendly alterative to fossil fuels. This experiment could be improved by enhancing the balance of the device as well as adding more magnets and coils. Also, adding a rectifier and being able to leave it out on open water for an extended period of time would allow you to determine the capacity of electricity that could be generated. Wave power has much potential because our earth is 97.5% water. We only need to harness 0.2% of that water to power the whole earth.
McCormick, M. (2007). Ocean wave energy conversion. Mineola, N.Y: Dover Publications.
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Utilization of ocean waves--wave to energy conversion; proceedings of the international symposium: (1987). Scripps Institute [sic] of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, U.S.A., and June 16-17, 1986. New York, N.Y: The Society
Waves, tides, and shallow-water processes. (1999). Oxford Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, in association with the Open University.
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