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Earth Science. Challenge to Excellence. Nail Rusting. Big Question!. Which nail will rust the fastest? The one in the Sprite, the one in the Coffee, The one in the Fresh Water, or the one in the Vinegar?. Big. Big. Big. Big.

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Earth Science

Challenge to Excellence

Nail Rusting

Big question

Which nail will rust the fastest? The one in the Sprite, the one in the Coffee, The one in the Fresh Water, or the one in the Vinegar?





If I put one nail in a cup of coffee , another in a cup of vinegar, one in a cup of sprite, and one in a cup of fresh water, which nail will rust the fastest??


My hypothesis is that the nail in the cup of Vinegar will rust the fastest.

The reason why I choose the Vinegar is because I have heard that there is a lot of different acids that don’t harm humans. I would like to see if this is correct.

5 interesting facts
5 Interesting Facts!!!

  • That fresh water rusts slower than tap water.

  • A lot of people have done this for a Science Fair Project.

  • Rust is iron-oxide, a compound of iron from the nail and oxygen from the air.

  • That when a nail rusts, everything rusts.

  • The least time it took to rust a whole nail was 1½ days.


  • 4 containers/cups

  • Vinegar

  • Something to keep Data

  • Sprite

  • 5 nails

  • Coffee

  • Measuring Cup

  • Camera

  • Fresh Water


  • Get 4 cups and fill them with the 4 liquids shown in Materials.

  • Take a nail and put one nail in each one of the cups.

  • Watch the nails and record the data every couple days or so.

  • After it is all done, record the longest nail to rust and the shortest nail to rust.


My control is a nail in open air.


  • That with in 2 hours the water started to show some corrosion (rust).

  • That within 12 hours, the water had already rusted 30% of the nail.


% of Corrosion Observed by Day

Analysis of Data

Yes, because during the time of rusting then I found out the vinegar was not rusting.


My hypothesis was not correct.

  • If I could change anything in the experiment it would be the different liquids I used.

    Some of the new questions I have is:

  • If I used different liquids, what would be my results?

  • What would happen if I used a different brand of nails?

  • And if the nails were covered in a substance, what would happen?


I got my ideas from:

MY DAD!!!!