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Andries Els and Christofel Barnard (both 17) won most innovative science project overall at the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair which concluded on Saturday, 17 June.

This was the first time the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists sent a delegation representing South Africa to this prestigious science fair.

The project aimed to analyze the effect of thermodynamics of everyday materials and see how the thermodynamic laws influenced the thermal properties of a cooler-box, made from household and easily accessible materials such as old newspapers.

These experiments were done by using 150ml sized ice blocks and placed in 1liter containers of different materials, and then opening the containers at different intervals.

The tests were conducted using newspapers and expanded polystyrene and provided the best results in constricting heat-flow to the insides of the cooler thereby keeping the ice cold.

The pair’s investigation concluded that newspaper layers and expanded polystyrene provided the best results, and that the first law of thermodynamics (which states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed in an isolated system) had the largest effect on the result. A further observation showed that a combination of the two materials provided a far superior resistance to temperature changes.

The two learners also came second in the physics category and also received the prize for the most innovative project in the category. The pair designed a cost and energy efficient coolerbox and have also been invited to participate at the Kenya Science Week in Nairobi in May 2018.

“Eskom is a world class energy provider and is proud to be the driving force behind the Eskom Expo for young scientists, which provides this fantastic platform for budding young scientists to thrive. The international competitiveness of our country lies in the hands of young scientists and innovators like these two budding scientists,” says Thava Govender, Group Executive: Transmission and Acting Group Executive Sustainability & Risk

On 2 May 2017, three very excited learners from South Africa depart from the OR Tambo international airport to participate in the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering, and Environment Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP) in Houston, USA, taking place from 3-8 May. It is the largest science fair event of its kind in the world with this speciality.

These three learners did exceptionally well in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Finals in October 2016 and therefore have the honour of representing South Africa. The learners are excited and look forward to meeting likeminded learners from all over the world and learning about their cultures and different science projects. They will present the following projects at this international stage:

  • Sanele Msizi Hlongwane from Ladysmith, will present his project titled “Propellant Cheapskates”. The purpose of this project is to determine whether different propellant families used in amateur rockets can be improved so that they can perform nearly as powerful as industrial propellants used in commercial and private rockets.
  • Cornelis Rautenbach from Pretoria, will present his project titled “The El Nino Southern Oscillation and rainfall in South Africa”. In South Africa it is a general perception that El Niño seasons are associated with overall droughts, while La Niña seasons are associated with overall wetter conditions. In the study this perception was tested by investigating whether the influence of El Niño and La Niña seasons are month and area dependant instead of weather dependant.
  • Junho Ko from Cape Town, will present his project titled “Decreasing Temperature and Retaining Hot Water in Informal Settlements using Plastic Bottles filled with Water”. Millions of people living in South Africa are forced to live in informal settlements, and the heat induced by these "shacks" can cause many heat related problems for the people living in the shacks. Junho decided to come up with a cheap, easy-to-use solution for this problem.

S’nenhlanhla Dlamini from Ongoye Secondary School took home the top prize at the 2016 Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF). The Grade 12 learner is the winner of a full scholarship to study in Germany sponsored by Siemens. Her project is entitled Smart Home Energy Saver in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation category and was one of the 580 finalists who competed at this year’s ISF where over R4 million worth in prizes was awarded to budding scientists from across the country and abroad (Mexico, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland).

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Friday 29 January 2016 saw two South African learners walk away with top awards at the Taiwan International Science Fair.

Erjee Dames from Eden Karoo has won first prize of 2000 Taiwan dollars in the Engineering category with his project -a novel device to measure the exact height for high jump athletes” Erjee discovered that high-jump athletes are not always aware of the exact height they are jumping. They know that they are clearing the height set by the bar, but not their specific height, which may in fact be a record without them even knowing it. The purpose of this project was thus to design and make a device that will enable high-jump athletes to know exactly how high they are jumping.

Marnus Slabbert from Northern Gauteng won fourth prize in the Physics category with his project- the influence of filtered light frequencies on plant growth. Marnus performed experiments to determine if the frequencies of the colours of pigment differ from the frequencies of the colours of filtered light. The third experiment was performed to determine whether the different colours of filtered light have an influence on plant growth.

The two learners were selected to participate at the Taiwan International Science Fair (ISF) at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists ISF in October 2015. Only the most outstanding learners are handpicked by the Expo’s international selection committee to represent South Africa at ISFs, such as the one in Taiwan. 

In the coming months, more learners who have been selected at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists ISF will be representing South Africa at the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering, and Environment Project (I-SWEEEP), the International Environment Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

Taiwan2016 winners

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