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Exploring Materials: Thin Films


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    NISE Network

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Exploring Materials: Thin Films

In this activity, learners create a colorful bookmark using a super thin layer of nail polish on water. Learners discover that a thin film creates iridescent, rainbow colors. This is a very fun and engaging activity for learners, and a great way to talk about how nanoscale structures often affect a materials' properties. SAFETY: Do this activity in a well-ventilated area.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Type:
Activity

Language:
English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)


  • Shallow pan
  • Strips of black paper (Bristol paper works best for this activity)
  • Clear nail polish (completely clear - no glitter or shimmer, and not fast drying)
  • Permanent markers in metallic color
  • Peacock feather (optional)
  • Thin film solar cell sample (optional)

Subjects


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color

Informal Categories


  • Animals
  • Arts and Crafts

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

Rights:

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0532536
  • National Science Foundation, 0940143

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