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Science Project: The Strength of Sand

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How strong could a bunch of a teeny-tiny particles be? They’re so small how could there any strength to them. Well, this science project will redefine the old phrase, strength in numbers. Test how strong sand can be and fool your friends and maybe even teachers!

Materials:

  • Cardboard tube from a roll of paper towel
  • Sand can be found at craft or garden stores if not close to beach or desert
  • Sheet of tissue paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Stick - dowel rod approximately 1 foot in length or a drumstick works well

Procedure:

  1. Cut the tissue into 2 squares with 8 inch sides.
  2. Place the tissue square over one end of the cardboard tube and secure it there with a rubber band twisted around the tissue and tube.
  3. Get a friend to take the stick and see if they can puncture a hole in the tissue paper that’s covering the end of the tube. Should be pretty easy to do so.
  4. Replace the square of tissue paper with a new intact one and secure it the same way you did the last, but this time fill the tube ¾’s of the way up with sand.
  5. Now have your friend again try and puncture a hole in the tissue paper. What’s your hypothesis of what will happen? Are they going to get sand all over the floor or will the force of sand stymie them?

How Much Sand Is There in the World?How Much Sand Is There in the World?Courtesy of projects.math.arizona.edu

What should happen is that the sand in the tube will prevent the stick from piercing the tissue paper. When the stick pushes against the sand, the sand particles respond by pushing against the walls of the cardboard tube much like a plug in the drain of a tub. So even that little amount of sand makes the tissue paper a nearly impenetrable surface.

Gives you a whole new perspective on sand castles, huh? Maybe they are secure fortresses after all!

Have your say!

What do you think would happen if the sand was wet sand? Think about how a sand castle feels and holds it’s shape. How would wet sand change this experiment? Would the sand be stronger or weaker? Share your hypothesis in the comment’s section below!

 

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Poll

Poll sand
53

How do you feel about sand at the beach?