Project cost ($):
1 day to prepare, 10 days for the science project experiment
Basic safety requirements. Discard the motor oil properly. Do not allow the motor oil to come into contact with bare skin.
Table of Contents
This science fair project was performed in order to ascertain the effectiveness of using polymers in the rehabilitation of contaminated soil. The science fair project involved using motor oil to contaminate a sample of soil and then attempting to germinate seeds in the contaminated soil.
Oil absorbing polymers can effectively rehabilitate soil contaminated with motor oil and render the soil suitable for growth. Seeds will geminate in the rehabilitated soil that has been treated with oil absorbing polymers.
Soil contamination, hydrocarbons, solvent, evaporated, carcinogenic
The materials required for this science fair project:
- 80 green bean seeds
- 4 pots
- enough soil for the 4 pots
- 1 bottle of motor oil
- 1 packet of oil absorbing polymers
- 1 packet of water absorbing polymers
- A spade
- a black marker pen
1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the soil content – normal soil, soil contaminated by motor oil, soil contaminated with motor oil but treated with the water absorbing polymer and soil contaminated with motor oil but treated with the oil absorbing polymer. The dependent variable is the number of green beans that germinate. This is determined by counting the number of seeds that geminate. The constants (control variables) are the size of the pot, the number of seeds in each pot, the amount of water, the amount of sunlight and the room temperature.
The results showed that the pot without any oil had the most number of beans that germinated, followed by the pot with motor oil and the oil absorbing polymer.
The graph below represents the results of our science project experiment.
Our hypothesis has been proven to be true. Oil absorbing polymers can effectively rehabilitate soil contaminated with motor oil and render the soil suitable for growth. Green beans will geminate in the rehabilitated soil that has been treated with oil absorbing polymers.
The beans in the contaminated soil had difficulty germinating. Using the oil absorbing polymer, we were able to remove some of the motor oil from the soil, and this resulted in more beans germinating.
The presence of contaminants also affects our ecosystem because the soil chemistry and pH is altered. These changes will eventually affect the population of flora and fauna in the region. Efforts including the excavation and aeration of the soil, are being made to rectify this problem. Microbials are also used to digest certain organic materials in the soil, to speed up the rehabilitation process.
Try to repeat this science fair project this time using different types of contaminants like pesticides or grease.
The science project experiment can be repeated to monitor the growth rate of certain species of plants in contaminated soil, to ascertain which species are more hardy
Soil contamination - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_contamination