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Winners of INAEP's Special Recognition Awards (Junior Division, Grades 4-8)
1st Place, INAEP Award of Excellence in Environmental Science
Certificate and $200 Award
Ishreet Lehal
Honey Creek Middle School, Terre Haute, Indiana
How do different natural dyes affect the power output and efficiency of nanocrystalline dye sensitized solar cells?
Our world is constantly growing and energy supply is limited. Many people have turned to alternate energy methods. However the majority stick to using fossil fuels due to the expensive alternate methods. But what if there were a new way to save energy and money? A dye-sensitized solar cell consisting of two conducting glass electrodes in a sandwich arrangement. When building the cell one electrode was coated with titanium dioxide after which the non conductive electrode was again coated with carbon. The titanium dioxide is designed to serve as an absorbent for the dye. The dye molecules absorb light, and produce excited electrons which in turn generate current in the output of the cell. The dye regains its lost electron with the aid of the electrolyte present in the cell. This work was done using the following light sources: fluorescent and overhead projector light. The voltages measured from each light source were separately documented. Cells made from raspberries, blackberries, spinach leaves, and grape fruit dyes were independently experimented on, and results showed that only cells made from the berries produced reasonable quantity of energy.This is because they have the right chemical composition and the energy band required to bond with the titanium dioxide which causes the release of electrons when light falls on them. The dye sensitized solar cell is very attractive because the materials needed are not only available but also cheap. In this experiment, efficiency evaluation was about 14.3% for the blackberry dye-sensitized solar cell. This supported my hypothesis in which I said that blackberries were going to produce the most power and efficiency.
2nd Place, INAEP Award of Excellence in Environmental Science
Certificate and $125 Award
Selene Koremenos-Tsebelis
Kennedy Primary Academy, South Bend, Indiana
Building Castles in the Sand in an Age of Global Warming
I love to build sand castles, but what if global warming, which lowers the pH of the ocean, changes how stable the sand castles are? I predicted that a sand castle made with water and vinegar (pH of 3) would lose more sand than a sand castle made with only water (pH of 7). My hypothesis was correct. I made two identical sand castles, except that one was made with water and one with water and vinegar to mimic ocean acidification. Two hours later I vibrated the surface the sand castles were on, brushed away the fallen sand, measured how much sand fell off each sand castle, and recorded my data. I did the experiment three times, and each time more sand fell off of the sand castle made with the water and vinegar. The difference in the amount of fallen sand between the two sand castles ranged from a minimum of 1.5 teaspoons to a maximum of 7 teaspoons over the three trials. I conclude that if global warming continues, our sand castles will be less stable. This is because water with a lower pH is less adhesive.
3rd Place, INAEP Award of Excellence in Environmental Science
Certificate and $75 Award
Rama Kaakeh
Happy Hollow Elementary, West Lafayette, Indiana
Which Fruit Peeling Filters Water the Best?
Water can be filtered by some kinds of fruit peelings. The fruit peelings are tomato, apple, and banana. There are people in the world that don't have access to clean water.  My project looks at which peel works the best at filtering polluted tap water. I want to know which peel works the best so it can be used to help people in areas where there are no filters and bad water sources. I thought that the banana will filter the water the most because the peel is thickest so it should collect the most pollution. Errors occurred so I had to find ways to fix them. Most of the errors were substituted with other supplies that worked. In conclusion my hypothesis wasn't supported. The answer to my experiment was shown that the tomato worked the best. In future experiments this project can be used with different fruits like mango, dragon fruit, or even avocado. In the world people should start growing the tomato and using tomato to help filter water. I think that people should use this easy and useful filter to help their life and health.
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