Materials Science Classroom Kit Demos

Lesson 1: Hot or not?

The objective of this lesson is to demonstrate how materials can be designed to withstand very high temperatures using a propane torch to heat one side of a refractory brick.

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Lesson 2: Candy fiber pull

During this demo, Jolly Ranchers® are melted in a beaker using a hot plate. Once the Jolly Ranchers® reach a molten state, candy fibers are pulled from the beaker, which simulates the production of glass-like fibers.

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Lesson 3: Piezoelectric materials

In this video, the piezoelectric effect of a ceramic disk and a polymer film is demonstrated through the use of LEDs. This demonstration helps to explain why this property exists in certain materials.

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Lesson 4: Shape memory alloys

The objective of this lesson is to learn how the motion of atoms under added heat can change the shape of metals. Using nitinol and steel wires, this demo will show students how a shape memory alloy can return to its original shape when heat is applied.

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Lesson 5: Thermal shock!

With more than 12k views on YouTube, this popular lesson illustrates thermal shock using three kinds of glass rods.

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Lesson 6: Glass bead on a wire

The purpose of this lesson is to examine the unique ability of glass to absorb other ions during thermal treatments. In this lab, students will use copper and nichrome wire to perform a borax bead test and determine what color beads are produced from each type of wire under different heating conditions.

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Lesson 7: Engineered concrete

This lesson provides students with an introduction to composites through designing and making reinforced Portland cement pucks and then testing their designs for strength through a drop test.

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Lesson 8: Thermal processing of bobby pins

In this lab, students will see how thermal treatment of a normal steel bobby pin can influence its mechanical properties, especially strength, ductility, and deflection. This is shown using a control sample, an annealed sample, and a quenched sample.

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Lesson 9: How strong is your chocolate?

In this lab, different types of chocolate bars are tested to demonstrate the influence of different microstructures on the flexural strength of the chocolate bars.

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Mini Material Kit Demos

Coming Fall 2021!

Videos for each of the mini kit lessons are on their way soon! While we wait, check out each of the lessons for free:

  • The Science of Silly Putty®
  • What is Fiber Optics?
  • Magic Color Beads and UV Light
  • How are Glass Fibers Made?
  • What is Fluorescence?
  • What is a Shape Memory Alloy?
  • Does heating an aluminum nail make it harder?   

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