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while you're waiting for the food to come
Great for Science Fair projects!

While You're Waiting for the Food to Come
by Eric Muller, Illustrated by Eldon Doty


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Cram all the Styrofoam you can in a can.

- Styrofoam packing peanuts. These come in parcels mailed to your house.

- A clean can

-Nail polish remover

- An audience to show how cool this trick is.

Warning: Adult supervision is required. This experiment involves a dangerous solvent -nail polish remover.

The Recipe:
1. Fill an empty can with about a half-inch or 1.5 cm of Nail polish remover.

2. Don't let anyone see the liquid inside the can.

3. Make a huge mound of packing peanuts next to the can.

4. Ask some one or a number of people how many of the peanuts will fill the can.

5. Push that number of peanuts closer to the can and start dropping the peanuts one by one in to the can.

6. Once you run out of peanuts from the "guessed" pile, start dropping in peanuts from the main pile. No matter how big your amount of Styrofoam peanuts, you will probably be able to drop every one of them into the can.

Food for Thought:
Styrofoam is made of plastic or more precisely a polymer. A polymer is made of bazillions of linked atoms and molecules. In Styrofoam, these links are designedto help "puff" them up with lots of trapped air or other gases. Nail polish remover contains solvents that break these links and releases the gas. Since Styrofoam peanuts are made up of mostly just gas, when the gas is gone there is not much left. This allows you to keep adding and adding styrofoam peanuts.


To dispose of your Styrofoam "goo", just let it dry outside for a few days. When hard and dry, you can throw it away.

Copyright 2001 Do Science

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