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.
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.
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.
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.
Lesson 5: Thermal shock!
With more than 12k views on YouTube, this popular lesson illustrates thermal shock using three kinds of glass rods.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mini Kit Demos
The Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation would like to give a huge thank you to the members of the PCSA who made the following Mini Kit Demo videos possible! If you would like to participate in outreach activities to help K-12 students learn more about Materials Science, check out the PCSA's website.
Mini Lesson 1: The Science of Silly Putty
If you have played with Silly Putty®, you know how fun it can be! Silly Putty® can bounce like a rubber ball, break from a sharp blow, be stretched, and will flow into a puddle after a period of time. If you flatten it and press it over a comic or newspaper print, it will copy the image.
So how in the world can it do so many things? Is it a solid or is it a liquid? Watch the demo video to find out!
Mini Lesson 2: Magic Color Beads and UV Light
Inside this mini lesson's package, users will find ten white plastic beads. These are special plastic beads that contain a chemical substance or pigment that changes color when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. When exposed to UV light, the beads will become red, orange, yellow, blue, or purple. If the beads are removed from UV light, they will slowly return to their white color. The beads can change between white and colors thousands of times.
So where do we find UV light? What will happen if you put sunscreen on the beads? Or sunglasses?? Watch the demo video to find out!
Mini Lesson 3: How are Glass Fibers Made?
To learn how glass fibers are made, we start with understanding that because glass can change from a solid to a liquid and then back to a solid! In this mini lesson, we heat up Jolly Ranchers to understand more about this unique material.
Mini Lesson 4: What is Fiber Optics?
Fiber optics is the science of transmitting data, voice, and images by the passage of light through thin, transparent fibers.
Fiber optics (optical fibers) are long, thin strands of very pure glass about the diameter of a human hair. They are arranged in bundles called optical cables that carry information between two places using entirely optical (light-based) technology.
So how do these tiny strands of glass transmit light? What happens if you tie the optical fibers into a knot? Watch the demo video to find out!
Mini Lesson 5: What is a Shape Memory Alloy?
Let’s start by defining what we mean by a “shape memory alloy.” An alloy is a metal containing two or more elements. Thermal shape memory is the ability of a material to return to its original shape when heated.
The piece of wire in this demo is called Nitinol and is an alloy made of nickel and titanium which has two phases or states, a high temperature state and a low temperature state.
What happens when a coiled up piece of Nitinol wire meets hot water? Why are these materials important for the medical community? Watch the demo video to find out!