Chemistry Science Fair Project Ideas

Topics and Experiments

High School kids wearing lab coats in a laboratory

Erik Isakson / Getty Images 

The best chemistry science fair project is one that answers a question or solves a problem. It can be challenging to come up with a project idea, but looking at a list of project ideas other people have done may stimulate a similar idea for you or you can take an idea and think of a new approach to the problem or question.

Tips for Finding a Good Project Idea

  • Write out your project idea in the form of a hypothesis for the scientific method. If you can, write out 5-10 hypothesis statements. Which is easiest to test? Which one makes the most sense.
  • The ideal science fair project asks a question you can answer or solves a problem.
  • Keep in mind how much time you have to complete the project. Don't select a science project that takes months to complete if you only have a few weeks. Remember, it takes time to analyze the data and prepare the report. It's also possible your experiment might not work out as planned. A good rule of thumb is to choose an idea that takes less than half the total time you have.
  • Don't discount an idea just because it doesn't seem to fit your educational level. Many projects can be made simpler or more complex.
  • Keep your budget and materials in mind. Great science doesn't have to cost a lot. Also, some materials might not be readily available where you live.
  • Keep the season in mind. For example, while a crystal-growing project might work well under dry winter conditions, it might be hard to get crystals to grow during a humid rainy season. A project involving seed germination may work better in the spring and summer (when seeds are fresh and sunlight is favorable) than in late autumn or winter.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. Parents, teachers, and other students can help you fine-tune a science fair project idea.
  • Follow rules and regulations. If you aren't allowed to use live animals, don't choose an animal project. If you won't have access to electricity, don't pick a project that requires an outlet. A bit of planning can save you from disappointment.

Examples of Good Project Ideas

  • Can you use a black light to detect invisible spills or smelly stains in carpeting or elsewhere in the house? Can you predict what types of materials will glow under a black light?
  • Will chilling an onion before cutting it keep you from crying?
  • Does catnip repel cockroaches better than DEET?
  • What ratio of vinegar to baking soda produces the best chemical volcano eruption?
  • What fabric fiber results in the brightest tie-dye?
  • What type of plastic wrap prevents evaporation the best?
  • What plastic wrap prevents oxidation the best?
  • Which brand of diaper absorbs the most liquid?
  • What percentage of an orange is water?
  • Are night insects attracted to lamps because of heat or light?
  • Can you make Jello using fresh pineapples instead of canned pineapples?
  • Do white candles burn at a different rate than colored candles?
  • Does the presence of detergent in water affect plant growth?
  • What contaminants can be detected in the air around us?
  • What type of car antifreeze is safest for the environment?
  • Do different brands of orange juice contain different levels of vitamin C?
  • Does the level of vitamin C in orange juice change over time?
  • Does the level of vitamin C in orange juice change after the container is opened?
  • Can a saturated solution of sodium chloride still dissolve Epsom salts?
  • How effective are natural mosquito repellents?
  • Does magnetism affect the growth of plants?
  • Do oranges gain or lose vitamin C after being picked?
  • How does the shape of an ice cube affect how quickly it melts?
  • How does the sugar concentration vary in different brands of apple juices?
  • Does storage temperature affect the pH of juice?
  • Does the presence of cigarette smoke affect the growth rate of plants?
  • Do different brands of popcorn leave different amounts of unpopped kernels?
  • How accurately do egg producers measure eggs?
  • How do differences in surfaces affect the adhesion of tape?
  • What are the environmental impacts of different water bottles, including edible water bottles?

Chemistry Science Fair Project Ideas by Topic

Acids, Bases & pH - These are chemistry projects relating to acidity and alkalinity, mostly aimed at the middle school and high school levels.

Caffeine - Is coffee or tea your thing? These projects relate mostly to experiments with caffeinated beverages, including energy drinks.

Crystals - Crystals can be considered geology, physical science, or chemistry. Topics range in level from grade school to college.

Environmental Science - Environmental science projects cover ecology, assessing environmental health, and finding ways to solve problems.

Fire, Candles & Combustion - Explore combustion science. Because fire is involved, these projects are best for middle school and higher grade levels.

Food & Cooking Chemistry - There is a lot of science involving food, plus it's a research subject everyone can access.

General Chemistry - This is a broad collection of different types of science fair projects relating to chemistry.

Green Chemistry - Green chemistry seeks to minimize the environmental impact of chemistry. It's a good topic for middle and high school students.

Household Project Testing - Researching products and understanding how people select them is an interesting science fair topic for students who might not ordinarily enjoy science.

Magnets and Magnetism - Explore magnetism and compare different types of magnets with these project ideas.

Materials - Materials science can relate to engineering, geology, or chemistry. There are even biological materials that can be used for projects.

Plant & Soil Chemistry - Plant and soil science projects often require a bit more time than other projects, but all students have access to the materials.

Plastics & Polymers - Plastics and polymers aren't as complicated and confusing as you might think. These projects may be considered a branch of chemistry.

Pollution - Explore sources of pollution and different ways to prevent or control it.

Salt & Sugar - Salt and sugar are two ingredients anyone should be able to find. Do you think you don't have the materials for a science fair project? You do!

Sports Physics & Chemistry - Sports science projects may be attractive to students who don't see how science is practical in everyday life. These projects may be of particular interest to athletes.

Science Fair Projects by Grade Level