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Rats! They ate my cables again!Featured science projectScience project video

Materials

The materials required for this science fair project:
- 3 rats
- a rat trap (cage-type)
- telephone wire
- Coaxial cable
- Red PVC wire
- Black PVC wire
- A 3 core power cable
- Speaker wire
- Rubber mat
The equipment to which the wires are usually connected to should also be used for this science experiment. For example, for the telephone wire, we will need the use of the telephone and access to the wall-socket (see step 3 of our procedure).

Procedure

1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the type of wire used - telephone, coaxial, red PVC, black PVC, a 3 core power cable and speaker wire. The dependent variable is the extend of damage done by the rats. This is determined by inspecting the wires for bite marks. The constants (control variables) are the number of rats in the cage, amount of time the cables are left in the cage and the number of days during which the rats are starved.

2.  Three rats are placed in a cage without food for 1 day. On the second day, tall of the wire types are passed through the grills of the cage and left there for 24 hours. Ensure that the wires are not connected to the equipment/mains supply. The next day, the wires are removed from the cage and inspected for bite marks. The results are recorded in the table given below.

3. On the third day, the wires are connected to the equipment (to which they are normally connected) and the equipment turned on, to allow  current  to pass  through them. The wires are then passed through the grills of the cage and left there for 24 hours. The cage is placed on a rubber mat to prevent electrocution. The next day, the wires are disconnected and removed from the cage and inspected for bite marks. The results are recorded in the table below.

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Complexity level:
8
Project cost ($):
50
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 2 days for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Live electrical wires  gnawed by  rats can become exposed and cause short circuits or electrocution. Ensure that no flammable materials or gasses are within reach, and perform this experiment in a well ventilated laboratory under the care of a qualified adult. Disconnect ALL  electrical connections before handling the cables. Ensure that protective gear (insulating gloves)/goggles are used. Rats should be handled with care as they bite!