The Reading / Listening - Shaving - Level 2

Scientists have discovered why razor blades become blunt after repeated use. They did research on why blades lose their sharpness. Razors are 50 times harder than hair. Even though hair is 50 times softer than the metal of a razor, the hair damages the edge of the blade. Razor blades are made from stainless steel and coated with tough materials like carbon. The scientists said each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair causes tiny amounts of damage. A blade can cut thousands of hairs. This means the life of a razor blade is limited. It needs to be replaced regularly.



The researchers used microscopes to look at how hair damages razor blades. They got a close-up view of what happens when the blade cuts a hair. One cause of damage is because a hair can make a tiny chip on the edge of a blade. This chip gets bigger as it cuts more hair. After more shaving, the blade loses its ability to cut cleanly. A researcher said he wanted to make metal stronger. He said it was interesting that, "if you cut something very soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like steel, the hard material would fail." He called this "an important engineering problem".

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Shaving - Level 0 Shaving - Level 1   or  Shaving - Level 3

Sources
  • http://news.mit.edu/2020/why-shaving-dulls-razors-0806
  • https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6504/689
  • https://www.newscientist.com/article/2251202-we-just-figured-out-why-shaving-soft-hair-blunts-steel-razor-blades/


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. why razor blades
  2. why blades lose
  3. Razors are 50 times
  4. softer than the
  5. hair damages the edge
  6. coated with tough
  7. causes tiny amounts
  8. It needs to be
  1. materials
  2. harder than hair
  3. of the blade
  4. of damage
  5. become blunt
  6. replaced regularly
  7. their sharpness
  8. metal of a razor

Paragraph 2

  1. look at how hair damages
  2. They got a close-
  3. what happens when the blade
  4. One cause of
  5. This chip gets bigger as it cuts
  6. the blade loses its ability
  7. if you cut something very
  8. an important engineering
  1. problem
  2. more hair
  3. damage
  4. to cut cleanly
  5. razor blades
  6. soft
  7. up view
  8. cuts a hair

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists have discovered why razor (1) ___________________ after repeated use. They did research on why blades (2) ___________________. Razors are 50 times harder than hair. Even though hair is (3) ___________________ than the metal of a razor, the hair damages the edge of the blade. Razor blades are made from stainless steel and (4) ___________________ materials like carbon. The scientists said each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair causes (5) ___________________ damage. A blade can cut thousands of hairs. This means the life of a razor blade is limited. It needs to (6) ___________________.

The researchers used (7) ___________________ at how hair damages razor blades. They got a (8) ___________________ of what happens when the blade cuts a hair. One cause of damage is because a hair can make a tiny chip (9) ___________________ of a blade. This chip gets bigger as it cuts more hair. After more shaving, the blade loses its ability (10) ___________________. A researcher said he wanted to make metal stronger. He said it was interesting that, "if you (11) ___________________ soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like steel, the hard (12) ___________________." He called this "an important engineering problem".

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Scientistshavediscoveredwhyrazorbladesbecomebluntafterrepeate
duse.Theydidresearchonwhybladeslosetheirsharpness.Razorsare5
0timesharderthanhair.Eventhoughhairis50timessofterthanthemeta
lofarazor,thehairdamagestheedgeoftheblade.Razorbladesaremade
fromstainlesssteelandcoatedwithtoughmaterialslikecarbon.Thescie
ntistssaideachtimeabladecutsahair,thehaircausestinyamountsofda
mage.Abladecancutthousandsofhairs.Thismeansthelifeofarazorbla
deislimited.Itneedstobereplacedregularly.Theresearchersusedmicr
oscopestolookathowhairdamagesrazorblades.Theygotaclose-upv
iewofwhathappenswhenthebladecutsahair.Onecauseofdamageisbe
causeahaircanmakeatinychipontheedgeofablade.Thischipgetsbigge
rasitcutsmorehair.Aftermoreshaving,thebladelosesitsabilitytocutcl
eanly.Aresearchersaidhewantedtomakemetalstronger.Hesaiditwas
interestingthat,"ifyoucutsomethingverysoft,likehumanhair,withso
methingveryhard,likesteel,thehardmaterialwouldfail."Hecalledthis"
animportantengineeringproblem".

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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