ISSC 2016

International Student Science Conference

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Project Abstracts

Making wind turbines more efficient

Name of school: The Hutchins School

Names of students: Fergus Charles, Charles Moss, and Alex Titchen.

Renewable energy sources, including wind farms, are vital for the future of our planet and sustaining the delicate environments of our planet (including in our home state of Tasmania). For this reason wind turbine efficiency is the key to making the most of the wind farm infrastructure to minimise environmental impact and maximise power output.

The aim of this project was to create and optimize a wind turbine to perform at maximum efficiency. The physical limit to the maximum possible efficiency is 59.3%, this limit is known as the Betz limit. The factors we tested using corflute were: blade length, angle of attack, twist, wind profile, chord width, blade shape, gearing and generators. These variables were optimized for the specific fan and its wind profile that we used for the testing.

The results of these tests were then implemented into our blade and drive train design which we modelled in Rhino 5 initially and for our final design in Q-blade, a free program for advanced blade design.

We then used a 3D printer to produce blade prototypes, customizing the gearing ratios and optimal generator speed. The blades have gone through several stages of prototypes and improvements until we ended up with our final high performance blades. These elements of design ultimately resulted in our turbine reaching over 23% efficiency.

Compared with commercial wind turbines, which have an approximate efficiency of 45%, our turbine is a long way from perfect, but it is a great start into the design and production of renewable energy.

Increasing the life of table tennis bat rubbers

Name of school: The Hutchins School

Names of student: Joseph Bailey

Table tennis is one of the world’s most popular sports, with an estimated 800 million club players worldwide. All bats have a replaceable rubber sheet on the outside, which is often seen as the main factor in a bat’s power and spin. To maintain power and spin, club players often change rubbers up to 6 times a year, while professionals change nearly every week. An estimated 120 million kilograms of rubber are used yearly by the sport.

This experiment investigated methods of increasing the length of time a rubber could be used, whilst maintaining optimum power and spin, and the effects of sunlight. Factors tested were: cleaning with water and a sponge, keeping it in a case, combinations of those methods, and the effect of sunlight (through a window). Power was measured through a bounce efficiency test, where the ball was dropped and the rebounds were measured and averaged. Spin was measured by the rubbers’ “throw angles”. The throw angles were found by a ball launcher firing balls at the rackets with topspin, and the angle of reflection, minus the angle of incidence gave the throw angle. Both tests used slow-motion footage to analyse the data.

It was found that keeping a bat in its case and cleaning it was the most effective method for maintaining power and spin, while leaving the bat in sunlight had a detrimental effect on both power and spin.

New type of graphite composite film to prompt microchip heat dissipation

Name of school: Tianjin Nankai High School

Names of students: Li Hanjie, Ren Yunfei, Xu Hao

When designing printed circuit board (PCB) for smart phone and other portable devices, the engineers must involve more powerful chips while reducing the size of chips and PCB simultaneously, which results in drastic increment of heat generation rate. These contradictive requirements are challenging the microchips cooling system. Formerly, silica gel layer covering the chips conducts heat to copper films or metallic cooling device then dissipated by air cooling, but space occupation and one-way conductivity render this scheme hardly deployed in portable devices. Finding thinner cooling films which also shows better heat conducting and dissipating performance has become a research focus recently.

Unique grain orientation of graphite capacitates it to uniformly conduct heat in two directions, which contributes to its remarkable heat conducting and dissipating rate. In normal conditions, natural graphite films conduct heat by rate of 1500W/m•k, comparing with alumni films by 230 W/m•k and copper films by 400W/m•k. Additionally, layer structures of graphite material grant it adaptability to surfaces with various curvature and chemical properties. Actually, great amount of massive electrical device have been covered with graphite films to dissipate heat. While on the other side, because of instability of layer structures, nature graphite tend to deform and crumble under external pressure, thus graphite film is difficult to process and its application in PCB is limited. Therefore, finding proper structure and ingredient to reinforce the graphite film as well as maintaining its heat conducting and dissipating capability is essential for building new type of graphite films.

According to plan, our research is implemented by following phases. First, from structural mechanism and thermodynamics perspectives, through numerical computation and simulations we choose proper structure and ingredient for the film. Secondly, we plan to syntheses composite film with proven technology such as high temperature carbonization and high pressure molding. Last, we will test the performance of the film on real PCBs, estimate the temperature and structure density with available apparatus.

Microchip cooling, graphite film, composite material, numerical simulation, high temperature syntheses

Web-based Application Development For Online Touring System

Name of school: Tianjin Nankai High School

Names of students: Zang Yongyi, Xu Simeng, Zhang Xiaoge, Gao Kaijun & Hao Boxi

This program is generally about data-driven developing system and its usage under the requirements of fast-updating nowadays, specifically on online touring system used in a short period of time. From the Web View in App Inventor to classic viewport, Online touring system is always considered as a display window rather than improvement point behind the massive data transforming through Web Pages. Students without any foundation in coding by using App Inventor as initial language used six months to build a mature system which can highly improve the experience during an online touring. Turning basic static text into analyzed display block, by simply adding a quiz, combining UGC (User Generated Content) analyzing and a simplified version of point-to-point comprehension measurements, a group of student is able to generate real-time update content of introductions for touring, bringing a major improvement to the comprehension level of tourists at a low cost in calculating. Solutions like this are often used in modern mobile application development but haven’t been put into usage in online touring, where the potentials of these solutions are basically unlimited. For further developments, the modifications on the specifics of data processing are required in order to minimize the financial cost for server.

Fly Copter Fly

Name of school: St. Paul’s Co-educational College

Names of students: Ip Ching Lam Alex, Lai Cheuk Fai Alan, Li Lok Yin Chris

Our project aims to design, develop a flying machine for real life transportation.

Doraemon is a 21st century robot cat in the eponymously titled Japanese cartoon series. Through futuristic gadgets, he solves his owner’s ancestor’s daily problems after travelling to the present time.

The signature gadget of the series is the Take-Copter, which is an attachable rotor blade for personal aerial travel. If applicable in real life, it can solve many current problems brought by conventional transportation, such as congestion and pollution. Our experiment therefore focuses on whether the Take-Copter design works in real life, and subsequently designing a practical and economic prototype.

We reviewed footage of the Take-copter in the anime and found out some potential drawbacks to its design with reference to existing physics and engineering concepts. We then made use of a scaled helicopter model to find out the general relationship in weight capacity and rotor blade speed. Finally, we designed a prototype using the data collected.

While the idea of the Take-Copter was a very novel approach, it suffered from a lack of lift, imbalanced rotational torque and safety hazards when operating, not to mention an enormous consumption of fuel comparable to the power of nine air-conditioners. A practical method is the increase of rotor blade diameter and the implementation of coaxial counter-rotating rotors. Instead of attaching the device by a suction cup, the user is prevented from falling in mid-air by sitting in an exoskeleton.

Mealworms Save the Earth

Name of school: St. Paul’s Co-educational College

Names of students: Au-Yeung Yee Man Betty, Choi Chung Yan Yannie, Lam Hoi Ying Athene, Leung Hoi Sze Sandra

Plastic, a commonly used material, can hardly degrade naturally and hence accumulates in the environment. Around 5000 tons of plastic is being deposited each day, leading to a critical environmental crisis: plastic pollution.

With the aim of reducing the impacts of plastic pollution, our project investigates the ability and efficiency of the biodegradation of plastics by mealworms under different conditions to obtain the optimum condition and maximize the degradation rate, which is inspired by recent experiments conducted by the Stanford University.

Our first experiment aimed at determining the type of plastic to be used in other experiments, hence we measured the mass of mealworms and plastic in each container with 100 mealworms and a plastic block. For more reliable results, we chose polystyrene, whose mass decreased the most drastically, for the remaining experiments. Then, we investigated the efficiency of plastic biodegradation under different conditions: temperature and photoperiod. We compared the percentage mass change in polystyrene, while monitoring the growth rate of mealworms by the frequency of pupation.

As we hypothesize that worms with similar body structure as mealworms can degrade plastics, we investigated the ability of degrading plastics of superworms, larvae of another species of darkling beetle Zophobas morio, by measuring the mass of the superworms and polystyrene under room condition.

We discovered that the best condition for mealworms to degrade polystyrene is under natural sunlight and 20℃. Superworms are incapable of degrading plastics despite the mass of polystyrene decreases rapidly, as they merely chew off the plastic bits. Yet, they can facilitate plastic degradation by increasing the surface area to volume ratio of plastics, increasing the rate of degradation by mealworms.

With all the experiments done in this project, we hope to maximize the rate of consumption of plastic by mealworms, and eventually, save the world from plastic pollution.

Reducing Plastic Pollution: recycling at school and monitoring of floating litter on Venice canals

Name of School: Liceo Ginnasio Statale “Marco Foscarini” Cannaregio 4942, 30131 Venice

Names of Teachers: Anna Collarin, Eugenia Iovane, Angelo Francesco Paloschi, Caterina Rossi.

Names of Students: Amadio Isabella Annagreta, Barbato Francesco, Carraro Rachele, Chiapatti Chiara, Mocan Irina, Semenzato Arianna, Tressoldi Elisa, Violato Ludovica.

Plastic pollution and its dangerous impacts, particularly on the marine ecosystem, are a persistent and growing environmental problem that must be faced at a global level. Since the last century, plastic has been widely used because of its versatility and durability. However, massive usage of single-use plastic and its incorrect disposal, as well as the increase of derelict fishing gear, have caused large accumulation of waste in landfills and coastal and sea habitats. In the Pacific Ocean, for instance, ocean currents have collected floating garbage in the center of an enormous rotating area, often referred to as the “eastern Pacific garbage patch”. Consequences include damage to wildlife resulting from ingestion of plastic fragments or entanglement in plastic pieces and the leaching of chemicals from trash. Recycling and raising public awareness about this huge problem are two ways to reduce the use of packaging and its diffusion in the environment.
As an island lacking an automatic waste collection, Venice is highly vulnerable: floating litter in its canals and the accumulation of garbage along the coasts of lagoon’s little islands are visible effects of this.

The students of Liceo “Marco Foscarini” have organized their project considering three aspects: 1) gaining knowledge of the plastic production processes adopted in petrochemical plants of Porto Marghera (Venice); 2) monitoring the floating litter on the Venice lagoon by type and quantity; 3) managing of a recycling collection system at school, as well as teaching other students about the implementation of policies aimed at reducing the amount of plastic pollution.

The project was carried out with the collaboration of the governmental research institute ISPRA (Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research), the NGO Legambiente Venezia and VERITAS, the local multiutility of waste collection services.

Carbon Algaexide

Name of school: Stella Matutina Girls’ High School

Name of students: Bonnie Feng, Sammi Zhuang, Nita Yu Chih

Climate change has caused serious environmental issues all over the world. People have noticed the drastic change of the climate and realized how serious the consequences could be if we keep ignoring the problem. Therefore, we started out to find the solutions to the current situation. So the question turned out to be, “How can we reduce carbon dioxide in the air and slow down the greenhouse effect?”

Carbon capture and Storage (CCS) is a new technology which plays an important role in reducing CO2. Among the methods, we chose wet scrubber and reusing waste liquid as the two main topics for our experiment. First, we captured the carbon dioxide in the air by reacting it with base solutions which resulted in CO32- as the product. Second, by using the waste liquid remained from the first phase, we cultivated spirulina and reduced the amount of CO32- in the base solution through photosynthesis.

We utilized LiOH(aq), NaOH(aq), KOH(aq),in three different molarities of 0.1M, 0.5M, 1M. We found out that [LiOH]=1M had the best efficiency for capturing the CO2. Furthermore, spirulina could survive in the strong base and truly consume CO32- with photosynthetic carbon fixation. As shown in the satisfying results, we could get a concept of an air freshener, which can be applied to our daily life, and reach our goal to reduce carbon dioxide.

Cola Light Cola Bright

Name of school: Stella Matutina Girls’ High School

Name of students: Fenny Liao, Jessica Hsu, Nini Lin

Our experiment is inspired by the project” Liter of Light” shown in a TV program. It’s about using readily available plastic bottles as illumination device to light up dark houses without sunlight coming in. We consider this practice practical as well as eco-friendly because it gives the disposable bottles new lives. To make sure about its effect, we did a further research. We conducted two experiments. For the first one, we used laser rays to predict how the light spots would be distributed on the specific area. As for the second experiment, we built a darkroom outdoors to conduct the experiment with sunlight. Owing to different azimuth and elevation angle, we took the measurements every 30minutes, from 8:00 to 12:00. We measured 9 times a day, and 81 times in total. We set a two-dimensional space with a radius of 40cm and a height of 65cm from the ground. In the first experiment, we discovered that if we set solar azimuth as 0°, most of the spots are distributed at the areas around 0° or 180°, so we hypothesized the lightest spots in an actual situation might be the same. And in the second experiment, we found out that the lightest spot fell on the wall of the darkroom. As a result, we could not know the exact situations. To let the lightest spot fall at 80cm from the center of the circle, we adjusted the height of the space according to the concept of similar figures. Therefore, we changed the height of 65cm from the ground to the height of 68cm from the ceiling. The result showed that the lightest part fell at 80cm, which corresponded to the result of our further research.

Nature’s Nouveau Resistance

Name of School: The Doon School, India

Names of Students: Advait Ganapathy, Atreya Guruprasad & Ishita Bhardwaj

Aspergillosis is a disease caused when the lungs get infected with the growth of fungi of the genus Aspergillus, primarily Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus fumigatus. This disease is common across agricultural areas since various rotten crops provide a nutritious substrate for such fungi to grow. In India it is common in the western state of Gujarat due to its large peanut industry. When these fungal spores enter the bronchioles of humans via the respiratory passage in large numbers they start growing and thus affect the infected person’s health. While various medicines can be used to treat the infection, they may have large side effects. The disease is, therefore, better prevented through the use of an anti-fungal prophylaxis.

Traditional Indian medicine lists a variety of plant extracts which have anti-biotic properties. These extracts can therefore be used as a prophylactic measure to prevent Aspergillosis infections not only because they are natural but also because they are readily available.

To test if herbs actually had an inhibitory effect on the growth of A. flavus, 3 different medicinal plants with known anti-fungal properties were chosen. These three plants being the red sage (Lantana camara), the Indian basil (Ocimum sanctum) and ginger (Zingiber officinale).Extracts of these plants in a fixed quantity were mixed with the agar based nutrient medium. A. flavus obtained from fungal growth on rotten tomatoes were inoculated onto the agar plates. These plates were observed after a week and compared with a control, showing that all the anti-fungal extracts inhibited the growth of Aspergillus, however, the Wild Sage(Lantana camara) was the most effective in inhibiting the growth of the fungal culture.

Title of the project: Energy Oxides

Name of School: The Doon School, India

Names of Students: Raghav Grover, Mahip Agarwal, Shourya Vir Singh Mann, Shivendra Pratap Singh & Chaitanya Gulati

Energy, being the most imperative resource for any society to progress and even to sustain itself, has been, at the very core of our priorities. Hence we have always tried to harness this resource through various ways. We initially found success in fossil fuels and wood, but eventually we have realised that these sources are non-renewable and polluting. Finding ourselves in the middle of an energy crisis, we have been trying to search for renewable sources of energy. Gradually we have been able to find alternatives in the form of Wind, Hydro-electric and Solar energy, etc. But we have not yet found a viable solution to this energy crisis. Hence, every little improvement in our technology of harnessing energy makes a significant difference.

This is something that we as a group of innovation enthusiasts have realised. While studying about photovoltaic cells on the internet, we stumbled upon a very interesting and thought-provoking video* that talked about creating energy from oxides and how they are more efficient than pure metals. We were amazed as to how something like worn-out copper, which we all consider useless and junk, can be an effective source of energy. Our curiosity made us think beyond the video and we wanted to try all possibilities and come up with the most efficient combination of metals. As a result we placed different combinations of metals, some of them coated with oxides in salt solutions of different molarities and checked the amount of electricity they generated. We used different sources of light to best simulate sunlight and subsequently tried it without light to see the amount of photoelectric effect demonstrated. We tried to answer questions like-

  • Can this be carried out in sea water (0.61moles/litre of dissolved salts) and if so, then how?
  • Is it portable and long-lasting?
  • How effective is it in sunlight?
  • How effective is it when placed in a saturated solution?

As a result we were able to plot graph for the data obtained in various experiments conducted and have finally concluded that-

  • The best combination of metals in terms of current produced is when we have impure Cu (copper irregularly coated with copper oxide) as cathode and pure Zn as anode.
  • 6 moles/litre solution showed the maximum photoelectric effect.
  • Maximum current was produced by saturated solution, followed by 0.8 moles/litre solution.
  • 0 moles/litre solution produced the most consistent current.

*URL to the video:

© The Doon School, 2020. All rights reserved.

For more information about how to apply, contact Ms. Abia Qezilbash,

Summer at Doon, The Doon School, Mall Road, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India 248001.

Tel: +91 (0) 135 2526516; Email: [email protected]