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A simple project with aluminum

You can see for yourself how aluminum is different from steel by comparing an empty aluminum can (a soda can) to an empty steel can (most canned food, like canned soup or tuna or ravioli).
aluminum coke can

Aluminum soda can

What is aluminum?
Where does steel come from?

Comparing steel and aluminum

First, check out whether your can is really made of steel. If it is, magnets should stick to it. Is your soda can really aluminum? Then magnets won’t stick to it.

More about magnets

Now, investigate the differences. Which can is heavier? Can you get either can to rust?

What is rust?
A project with rust

Which can is easier to dent or squash? Which is easier to scratch with a fork?

a can of soup

Steel soup can

People use both aluminum and steel for cooking pots, because both metals will conduct heat from the burner to the food. Try touching them to a burner on the stove (with help from an adult!). Which one conducts heat better/faster?

What is metal?
How does metal conduct heat?

Don’t forget to recycle both cans at the end of your experiment.

More about aluminum atoms
More chemistry projects

Bibliography and further reading about chemistry projects:

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