Make a Simple Hygrometer for 0$ !! (great for Your Childrens!)

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Introduction: Make a Simple Hygrometer for 0$ !! (great for Your Childrens!)

Since I posted my last instructable about simple science (you can check it out here) it get 41,501 views, so I decided to post another one. And today you will learn how to make a simple hygrometer, Another project that is fun to make with kids, and it is educational as well.

If you're curious about how it works, check last step ;)

Step 1: You Will Need...

Here are the things you will need to make the hygrometer:

  1. Scissors
  2. Sharpie, or a pen
  3. piece of paper (preferably thicker than regular printing paper, i used 180g/m^3)
  4. piece of cardboard/thin plywood/something that you can pin the pin into
  5. ONE hair, preferablu longer than mine - about 5-7 cm long

I Highly recommend to use horse hair. It reacts better and more noticeably than human hair.

But unfortunately my horse was drinking beer in the pub.... so I used my hair. ;)

Step 2: OK! Now We Can Start Learning.

Try to draw an arrow on paper, it don't have to be big, look at mine arrow, it can be similar. Then you have to cut it out using scissors.

Remember! always be careful using scissors and don't let kids to play with them when you are not around.

Now the most important part, You have to make hole in arrow and make a pivot point. The hole need to be a little bigger than pin so the arrow can move freely. You can check it by twisting the pin - when arrow always point down no matter which way you turn the pin.

When you finish arrow pin it to the cardboard/plywood and check if the arrow spins freely.

Step 3: Tape the Hair to the Arrow and Cardboard.

Cut small piece of tape and stick it to the hair and then to the arrow. Pin the arrow to the cardboard and tape the other end of hair to it.

Basically you finished ;) But I have added some graphics to it, so it look quite better.

Step 4: But... How It Works?

Here is how it works:

Hair have special hidden ability to shrink when dry and expand when wet. Using this fact, when there are more moist in air the hair will be longer and the arrow will point more downwards. When the air is dry, the hair will shrink and move arrow upwards.

The longer the hair is the more visible is arrow movement. You can use horse hair to make it more visible, since horse hair reacts stronger on humidity changes and moves arrow more visibly.

It's a project great to make with children and show them some science ;) but you can use it to check the changes in air humidity in your room ;)

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15 Comments

Thank you! I always try to upload most interesting stuff ;)

I am doing a science project at school and this will help a lot so thanks!

I can see where you are going with this. However, I think the reading on your meter will be so small that it will be hard to see any difference at all :-/

Attaching the hair closer to the pivot point (or alternatively extending the pointer beyond where it's already attached) would help with this. The further the pointer extends beyond the point of contact with the hair, the more noticeable small changes will be.

We used to use longer hairs and wrapped them around a partly-straightened paper clip [or long thumbtack or map pin] pushed through a hole in thin wood or sturdy cardboard. Using a longer indicator needle [arrow] or arm of the paper clip allowed us to see smaller changes and allowed for rough calibration.

Like I said, the longer is the hair, the more visible is change in lenght. Also, using the horse hair will give you better results than using human hair. The idea is probably older than me, so I am not surprised that there is a tutorial somewhere else ;) thank you for comment

I used to make these when i was young. works really well, but i would make the arm longer with ofcourse the attaching point of the hair close to the center. That way you get better readings

This brings back memories of doing this when I was a young
boy, along with other basic science projects and demonstrations. Nice to
see it's still being done. I remember experimenting with different color
hair and hairs of different textures and thickness, but I no longer recall the
results. Some parents trying this with their kids who think the only hair they
have to use is their own, may actually have access to horse hair and not
realize it. If their children play violin [or if they do], they may forget
their bows are typically strung with horsehair, unless they switched to
synthetic hair. Since broken hairs are common, the pieces can be used for
your Instructable. I really appreciate that some of your projects are
intended to be done with our children!

user

You know, the problem with human hair is that it's normally oily. This keeps moisture out, which is normally good, but is a problem for a hygrometer.

You should run the hair through alcohol or dishwashing liquid several times to get rid of the oil, and watch for oily fingerprints. This should give you a more responsive meter!

(Idea from BBC's Rough Science)