Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Nickel Silver Vs. Brass Takes Second Place at the Science Fair

1511 views
9 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Spartanburg, SC
  • 1,503 posts
Nickel Silver Vs. Brass Takes Second Place at the Science Fair
Posted by GP-9_Man11786 on Saturday, March 2, 2024 8:15 AM

I had come on here to brag on my son. He is in third grade an competed in the school science fair. His project tested nickle silver and brass track. His porject took second place and is headed to the regionals!

We tested the track's conductivity using a multimeter to measure resistance. We then dropped a hammer on each type of track to test durability of each.

We tested each type of tracks' ability to resist oxidation by placing a section of each outside for four weeks. We then placed a locomotive on this track and measured the voltage required for it to begin moving vs. a control.

I'm quite proud of him.

Modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad in N Scale.

www.prr-nscale.blogspot.com 

  • Member since
    December 2014
  • 443 posts
Posted by Wolf359 on Saturday, March 2, 2024 1:03 PM

That's really cool! It's nice to see the next generation taking an interest in both model railroading and science. Tell him to keep up the good work! By the way, which track did better in each test?

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Spartanburg, SC
  • 1,503 posts
Posted by GP-9_Man11786 on Saturday, March 2, 2024 6:51 PM

The brass track won for conductivity. But the nickel silver was winner for durability and resistance to oxidation.

Modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad in N Scale.

www.prr-nscale.blogspot.com 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 5,435 posts
Posted by mobilman44 on Sunday, March 3, 2024 5:57 AM

OUTSTANDING !!!

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

  • Member since
    February 2020
  • 70 posts
Posted by Llenroc fan on Sunday, March 3, 2024 6:40 AM

Congratulations!  A great way to spark interest in the hobby and gain some practical information.

Was the topic his idea?

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 2,314 posts
Posted by kasskaboose on Sunday, March 3, 2024 1:04 PM

Excellent work!  Thanks for sharing. I bet he's remember this one. Perhaps he's on the right track to trying this experiment on a layout.

Curious what the difference between the two is for conductivity.

  • Member since
    October 2022
  • From: Pasadena California
  • 89 posts
Posted by BradenD on Sunday, March 3, 2024 5:59 PM

kasskaboose

Excellent work!  Thanks for sharing. I bet he's remember this one. Perhaps he's on the right track to trying this experiment on a layout.

Curious what the difference between the two is for conductivity.

Brass has copper in it which helps with conductivity

  • Member since
    October 2005
  • 1,033 posts
Posted by betamax on Monday, March 4, 2024 5:50 AM

They are both copper alloy.

But as with all alloys, who made than can have an impact. Both are mainly copper with zinc added to impart the desired properties, with nickel displacing a lot of the zinc in nickel silver alloys. Both are about 25% the conductivity of copper, with zinc being better.

For an accurate comparison, both samples should come from the same manufacturer and code so they'll both have the same profile. (Everything should be the same except the alloy).

Measuring resistances that low is tricky with a multimeter. But you use the tools you have.

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 11,426 posts
Posted by dknelson on Monday, March 4, 2024 9:42 AM

What a neat story this is.  It reminds me of a very brief article in Model Railroader many decades ago that might be the basis for another model-train based science project.

I am relying on my memory here (an increasingly foolish thing to do).  It seems at a trade show LGB had a display where one of their big trains was running in an oval of their track placed in a shallow tub of water, to show that it was safe to run outside.  At the conclusion of the show it was found that the rails were now two different colors.  Something to do with electrolysis I assume, one rail being - while the other was +.  Or maybe it was electroplating?  (Those might be the same thing).

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    December 2014
  • 443 posts
Posted by Wolf359 on Monday, March 4, 2024 12:29 PM

GP-9_Man11786

The brass track won for conductivity. But the nickel silver was winner for durability and resistance to oxidation.

 

That's really neat! Thanks for answering, sorry I'm a bit late, I've been busy for a few days.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!