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Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to observe if temperature affects how glass shatters. The science project experiment involved bringing the glass to the following temperatures - 0 degrees Celcius, 24 degrees Celcius, 50 degrees Celcius, 75 degrees Celcius and 100 degrees Celcius.

Hypothesis

Temperature will not have any effect on how glass shatters.

Scientific Terms

Substance, brittle, fragile, crystalline structure, molecules

Background

Glass

Glass is made by melting sand or silica at over 2300°C and allowing the molten liquid to cool down rapidly. The addition of other substances like sodium carbonate to the sand, helps to lower the melting temperature to about 1500°C.

Glass is a hard and solid material but it is also very brittle and fragile. It can easily break into small and sharp pieces. Glass molecules do not have a proper crystalline structure and are arranged loosely. This random structure allows visible light to pass through, making the glass transparent. However, both light and heat are able to pass through glass thereby reducing the lighting cost but increasing the cooling costs.

One of the reasons that glass breaks easily is the loose arrangement of molecules. The random arrangement of these molecules makes glass brittle and crack when stress is applied. Another reason for glass to break easily is the uneven distribution of surface temperature. Unbalanced expansion and contraction causes surface tensions and makes the glass crack.

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Complexity level:
9
Project cost ($):
80
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 1 hour for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Be extremely careful when handling sharp broken glass pieces, to prevent injuries. As the glass shatters, splinters/shards may fly in all directions. You should ensure that the experiment is conducted in a safe location, by a qualified adult, wearing protective gear/clothing.