Is there a pressing question — a societal need or even just a cool idea, the answer to which can be found on the ocean floor? This is your turn to be the scientist. Yeah, you be the scientist! We challenge you to design an experiment for the Extreme 2003 team at sea!
One experiment per classroom or student may be submitted. Your teacher should submit the experiment using the on-line form in the Teachers Corner. The scientists will review all the experiments and select a number of them to perform aboard R/V Atlantis and the submersible Alvin.
Keep in mind that the scientists will be over 1,000 miles offshore and nowhere near a hardware store. So you should use common, everyday materials that you might expect to be housed aboard a ship that serves as both a laboratory and a home on the ocean for the scientists and crew. To see what students submitted last year, check out Extreme Experiments 2002.
The scientists have selected the following experiments to conduct. The results will be posted once they are available.
School: Memorial High School
Teacher: Beverly Pierson
Experiment Question: What will the pressure, chemicals, and heat do to a quarter and penny?
Experiment Hypothesis: The pressure will compress the coin; the chemicals will distort the color.Or the coin will be able to withstand the pressure and only the chemicals will affect the color. The coin may be able to withstand all elements at the bottom with no adverse effect.
Step 1: Take a penny and a quarter and duct tape (or somehow affix) each of them to the robotic arm of Alvin.
Step 2: When down at the bottom, hold the arm over one of the hydrothermal vents for a period until results are either present, or non-existent.
Step 3: After holding the arm over the vent for a period of time, remove the arm and after the dive is complete remove the penny and quarter from the arm and take to the lab for examination.
Step 4: Determine the effects the depth, and chemicals had on the coins.
School: Anderson High School
Teacher: Mr. McFawn
Experiment Question: Will Alka-Seltzer create bubbles when opened in a high-pressure environment?
Experiment Hypothesis: Alka-Seltzer will not form bubbles because the high pressure will cause the gases to be quickly absorbed by the water.
Step 1: Place Alka-Seltzer in a water-proof container suitable for carrying to the ocean bottom.
Step 2: Open the container at depth and watch for the reaction and presence of bubbles.
Step 3: A control group consisting of an empty, identical container may be needed.
School: Naches High School
Teacher: Aram Langhans
Experiment Question: Can pressure be determined by the size of an air bubble?
Experiment Hypothesis: Yes, by using the gas laws we should be able to calculate pressure.
Step 1: Obtain a large graduated cylinder graduated all the way to the top.
Step 2: Mount it upside down on Alvin where it can be seen.
Step 3: Dive
Step 4: Measure the volume of the trapped air at different depths during the dive. (perhaps 15--20 points). Also measure water temperature and pressure using Alvin's data collection probes.
Step 5: Record data.
Step 6: Send us the data.
Step 7: Use the gas laws to compute the pressure in the tube at various depths.
Step 8: Compare with Alvin's pressure readings.
Additonal Procedures: Used marker to darken ticks on cylinder, and added green food color to the water to increase visibility.
|Copyright University of Delaware, November 2003|