Alarms are intricate devices that create a sound when a switch is tripped. Exploring the mechanics of these devices and how they react is an ideal basis for a science project. Alarms will help you study electrical currents. You can expand the application of the alarm by using it as part of a project as a means of taking a measurement. Check with your instructor to get approval for the project before you begin, to verify that your idea fits the curriculum.
Build an Alarm
Create your own burglar alarm on a miniature scale. Design a security system for a dollhouse and install it using your homemade burglar alarm. Use a simple design that will sound the alarm when the circuit is created. When you move something that allows for the connection of two wire leads from the alarm, the bell will sound because the current is allowed to completely flow through.
Magnets and Alarms
Show how electromagnets play a roll in the working of an alarm's bell or buzzer. For the bell to sound, a hammer vibrates, hitting the bell. Study how the current from an electromagnet in the alarm causes this vibration.
Magnets play another role in burglar alarms. Some types of burglar alarms work by creating a magnetic field with remote contacts on doors and door jambs. If the door opens and breaks the magnetic seal between those contacts, the alarm sounds.
Lasers are often used as switches to set off a burglar alarm. Build your own laser alarm with design plans readily available on the Internet. This project will rely on your ability to acquire a photocell or phototransistor. Look at science supply stores for these. Explain in your burglar alarm project that when something crosses the laser beam, it breaks the light path and sets off the alarm. Also study how optics plays a role when you bounce the laser off mirrors placed to increase the coverage of the beam.
Research how smoke alarms are set off. Do an experiment to see if other vapours will set off the alarm. Does the source of the vapour matter? For instance, if you sprayed canned air into the smoke alarm, would it sound? What if the smoke alarm were placed over a steam kettle; would the steam set off the alarm? Create a report from your findings about smoke alarms, and explain how the project applies to your research about the workings of smoke alarms.
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