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Comparing the strength of solid wood with that of plywood

Materials

The materials required for this science fair project:

-    4 oak wood planks (proposed size 100mm x 25mm x 500mm)
-    4 redwood planks (proposed size 100mm x 25mm x 500mm)
-    4 plywood planks (proposed size 100mm x 25mm x 500mm)
-    You can purchase the wood from a hardware/home improvement store (eg. Lowes or Home Depot)
-    40 weights, each 0.5 kg
-    1 rope, about 2 meters in length
-    1 electric drill with appropriate size drill bits
-    1 ruler
-    1 vice
-    1 solid table

Procedure

1.    For this science fair project, the independent variable is the type of wood used for testing – oak wood, redwood  or plywood. The dependent variable is the average strength of the wood. This is determined by applying weights and  noting the breaking point of  each wooden plank. The constants (control variables) are the size of the wooden planks and the position  where the weight is applied.

2.    The experiment is  begun by inspecting the dimensions of the wooden planks and ensuring that all  of them are of the same size.

3.    A hole is drilled in  each of the 12 planks to be tested. The position of the hole is 30mm from  one end of the plank, and in the center of the plank’s width ( 50mm from  each side).

4.    The vice is  fixed to the table.  One of the oak wood planks  is  fixed to the vice by the end without the hole, as shown in Figure 1 below. The string is  tied to the hole in the other end of the plank. The weights are added, 0.5kg at a time, to the string until the wooden plank snaps. The test is repeated with the remaining 3 oak planks. The average breaking weight of the 4  planks  is calculated and recorded in the table given below.

5.      Step 4 is repeated using the redwood and plywood planks. The average breaking weights are calculated and recorded in the table given below.

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost (\$):
70
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 6 hours for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Ensure that safety equipment (gloves/goggles) are worn when handling power tools. Tools should be handled only by an adult