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Fast and Easy Science Fair Projects: Sandwater

Updated on December 30, 2019
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SandHeavy gloves (or) mittens2 paper cupsWater
Heavy gloves (or) mittens
Heavy gloves (or) mittens
2 paper cups
2 paper cups

Erosion caused by friction of glacial ice

Purpose: Without taking hundredsof years, we can demonstrate the erosive effect of a glacier.

Overview: There are places in the world where the heat of summer is not enough to completely melt the snow that has fallen during the winter, Some of the snow that does melt into water makes its way deep into the snow, where it turns into ice. As each year goes by, more and more layers of ice are built up, and the underlying layers become pressed tighter and tighter. A "glacier" is formed.

     Glaciers can be as small as a few acres. Ice-sheet glaciers can spread out like continents. The Antarctic ice sheet is above five million square miles in area, about one and a quarter times the area of the United States.

     Often, glaciers form on the side of mountains. When they become heavy enough, they begin to slide down the mountain slope. This movement is very slow, perhaps only a few inches or centimeters a day. But as this tremendous mass moves, it picks up stones and other materials that it then rubs against the rocks and ground underneath, causing erosion. The incredible force of glacier movement can change the way the terrain looks; it can even shear off the sides of mountains and change a "V" shaped valley into a "U" shape. The friction and force of glacier ice acts like sandpaper, eroding away even very hard rocks.

Hypothesis: Sand embedded in ice wall will cause abrasions in a surface it rubs against.

You need:

  • Sand
  • 2 paper cups
  • Water
  • Use of a freezer
  • An old painted board
  • A pair of heavy gloves or mittens

Procedure: Fill a paper cup with water. Place it in a freezer. Line the bottom of another paper cup with sand. Fill the cup with water, and place it in a freezer.

     When the water has completely turned to ice in the two cups, take them out of the freezer. Remove the ice from the cups by turning the cups upside down until they slide out.

     Pull on a pair of gloves or mittens to protect your hands. Pick up the blocks and turn them back over (sand side down). Hold a block of ice in each hand. Pushing fairly hard, rub both blocks of ice with equal strokes on an old painted board. After several minutes, examine the area of the board that the two ice blocks were rubbed against.

     Does the area rubbed by the "sand-ice" block look different from the area rubbed with the smooth ice? Are there scratches? Rub your fingers gently over the board. Does one feel more abrasive than the other?

Results and Conclusion: Write down the results of your experiment. Come to a conclusion as to whether or not your hypothesis was correct.

Something more: 1. As you increase the rubbing pressure, do the gouged-out, scratched areas get deeper? Do you think a heavier glacier would cause more erosion than one of less mass?

2. Make a comparison of the abrasion caused by a block of ice with fine sand particles enbedded in it to one with coarse sand.

     Thanks for reading this one! Hope you liked it!  This is my 44th hub on Fast and Fair Science Fair Projects. This one is extremely easy, useful and fun! I'm sure most of you all out there, enjoyed reading and trying out this one, especially kids!   If you want more on Fast and Easy Science Fair Projects, you can try my other Hubs on the same topic.  Here are five of my Latest Hubs onFast and Easy Science Fair Projects for you:


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