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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

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