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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
me and a partner are thinking of doing the science fair on rust. we have heard from multiple sources that the bacteria level in a substance affects the speed of rusting. we are planning to test this by putting iron nails in two glass jars filled with water. one will have natural bacteria in it from the soil outside. the other will be steratized with anti-bacterial soap. is this project just a big waste of my time and energy?
- matt (age 13)
westlake, ohio, usa

Experiments are never a waste as long as you learn something from them! It sounds like you have everything well thought out and now you just have to try it.

Youíll either find that the bacteria from the soil increased rusting or didnít. Either way, you will have found out something.

Donít consider it a failure if rusting isnít affected. In that case, youíll just have to figure out reasons why the results were different than you expected. (Possiblities: how long you let the experiment run, types of bacteria, differences in nails at beginning...) (another possibility: maybe the multiple sources are wrong./ mw) Also, itís a good idea to try your experiment a couple of times, just to make sure your results are accurate.

Good luck and have fun with your experiment!

(published on 10/22/2007)

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