This free science project takes less in materials, but more, in time and patience. It can be a half yearly, or yearly fair project to see whose works the best. Each will need a small oven-proof bowl. (One serve soup size: glass allows you to watch the progress.) Half fill it with water.
Add one nail, (a 2inch/3cm will do,) A scrap of wood, (not treated,) from an old fence chip to a piece off the ground, (1/2 in./1cm. thick, and about the length of the nail.) Find the sunniest window-sill, or if none, cover with a cut off base, of a large coke bottle and place over to protect.
It must be kept in a warm, safe, no-disturb area, but where you can watch the change take place. It doesn’t happen over-night, but you will see a film of almost oil on water colors, begin to show on the surface. This is due to the brake down of the elements within it. The oxidizing nail, the fermentation effect of rotting wood.
The transitions of these simple elements within the water. Work out all their elements. The water, HO2, Hydrogen, Oxygen. The Carbonic elements within the wood. The heat of the Sun. You might get bored waiting by about 6-10 weeks, so that’s the time to let Nature do the rest, to see its magic ending. This is what was meant by time, patience, and lots of enthusiasm. Requirements of a real scientist!
Now place it out into Nature, full on. Use the Air (remove the cover.) Use the Sun (utilize all of it’s Rays, seen and unseen.) Utilize the Night (the Moon and the Stars and all of night’s Energies.) Utilize the different Temperatures (which change with night and day.) Utilize if there’s a storm, even Nitrogen in the lightning. (But don’t let the rain flood it, we don’t want the progress to be lost.)
This as a total awareness free scientific test: another real scientist’s quality. This is best done over the warmer months. Yes, months: because just when you are about to give up on it, the day will come when you won’t believe your eyes. If you followed these instructions with the real heart of an investigator, you will discover your water is no longer water. It’s black. You can tip your bowl upside down and it won’t spill. It’s like a black candle wax set in the bowl. OK. Now comes the real test.
A candle will burn with a wick but not on it’s own: it will melt in the sun or heat, but this, didn’t. Now take care. Place it in a cleared area. (I used the lawn.) I lit a match to the black wax and stood right back fast. (I was not sure what to expect, I just knew it looked like a waxy solid oil.) But it was safe to sit in the end, and just watch it burn like a gentle oil lamp.
For at least a half to three-quarter hour it burned. Who would have believed? Amazing! Remember, you always take care with science projects. The test of a real scientist. See who’s oil lamp burns the longest, at each yearly fair. Have fun, work safe, and if you win the Nobel Prize for New Energy: remember me. Science projects can pay off, and have lots of inventiveness within their learning. Don’t forget to write down every detail. Most scientists do.