Chemistry Experiments That Explore the Properties of Burning Fabric

Science fair projects on burning fabrics can be designed to test the safety of pajamas or simply designed to look at the heat produced by various types of fabrics. When designing your chemistry experiments you will want to select a topic that not only is interesting to you, but that also has a practical application. In the following sections you will learn about several different science fair projects that you can complete. Some will be for 2 month science fair projects while others will be shorter.

What is more flammable, natural fiber fabrics or synthetic fiber fabrics? This is a very practical hypothesis question to test with your science fair projects on burning fabrics. Clothing manufacturers and safety agencies want to know what fabrics are safest for kids clothing and which are the best for fire fighters and safety crews to use for their uniforms. To test this hypothesis you will need several samples of fabric, half of which are synthetic and half of which are natural fabrics. Then you will try to set each on fire using the same technique. Which goes up in flames the easiest?

What produces more heat when burned, natural fabrics or synthetic fabrics? This is another great hypothesis to work with when developing science fair projects on burning fabrics. The independent variable for this experiment is the type of fabric you are burning and the dependent variable will be the amount of heat it produces. Since you are working with fire, make sure you take the necessary precautions and that you have a fire extinguisher on hand. Also, have an adult standing by to supervise your experiment.

Now that you have a couple of chemistry science fair projects under your belt, you can advance your project designs. The first option that you have is to examine what characteristics make fabrics burn faster. How can you set up an experiment to learn the answer to this problem? Think about things like the dryness of the fabric and the fabric’s weave. Also look at chemical additives and dies that are normally added during the manufacturing of fabric.

The second option that you have for advancing your fabric experiments is to look at what fabric characteristics actually slows down the rate it will burn. For this experiment you will want to look again at additives, weave and fiber structure. You will need a microscope to complete this experiment. Who would be interested in the results of this experiment and why? How can you translate this experiment into a prize winning science fair project? What would you need to add to the experiment?

The final option that you have for advancing your fabric experiments is to look at how the weave of a fabric impacts its flammability. There are several variations you can test. First of all you can see if the weave increases the flammability in both natural and synthetic fabrics, secondly you can see if weave tightness affects the flammability of the fabric and finally you can test to see if weave pattern impacts how flammable the final product will be. What other experiments can you design that look at how weave impacts the flammability of a fabric?

Natasha M. McKnight

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