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Who will best survive compression: Plastica (acrylic) or the Crystal Crusader (glass)? What about Incredible Bulk (polystyrene) or Mr. Cheese (mozzarella)? In this materials science activity, students experience four of these sorts of matches where pairs of materials are crushed in a virtual machine. Before and after each match, students learn about the properties of the materials that they are testing. Before watching the crushing, students can read brief histories and summations of the strengths and weaknesses of each item. After each match, there is an explanation of why, for example, acrylic was stronger than glass. The post-match sections also describe another property, such as flammability, that can be tested, and offer a brief video clip of a materials scientist, as well as instructions for a related experiment. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
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