SA science wizkid Adrian Pieter Huysamen wins gold at Turkey international science fair

A local young scientist, whose research project aims to address South Africa’s need for more energy-efficient buildings and construction materials, has been awarded a gold medal at this year’s Buca International Music, Science, Engineering Energy Fair (IMSEF) in Turkey.

Adrian Pieter Huysamen, 17, who is a grade 10 learner at Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck in Cape Town, represented Eskom Expo for Young Scientists at the virtual IMSEF with the research project entitled, “A comparison between the influence of three different sizes of exfoliated vermiculite on the thermal and mechanical properties of cement construction bricks”.

Huysamen said: “I feel very excited and thankful for receiving this great award. A lot of hard work went into this project, and I am very glad that all that work paid off. My project was inspired by our country’s energy crisis, as well as dangerous informal settlement fires motivated me to find a solution for these problems. My solution was light weight, fire resistant, insulating and durable bricks made using the mineral vermiculite.”

The learner hopes to one day build a small low-cost building out of his bricks, to see how the structure would hold up after a fire; and also see if these bricks would be economically feasible.

Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sumaya Nassiep, congratulated the learner, and said: “As the funder of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, we are delighted to see one of our very own being recognised on the world stage at the Buca IMSEF. It is notable that at such a young age, Adrian realised that environmental and economic constraints are increasing and affecting the construction industry; which results in a need for more energy-efficient buildings and construction materials. Our country’s future looks brighter with the calibre of learners like Adrian, who we have a hand in cultivating as a future innovator.”

Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, commended the learner, and said: “Taking part in the Buca IMSEF has been an incredible opportunity for Adrian to show South African ingenuity to a wider audience. It is impressive to see that a key sustainability-driver for the organisation like Eskom Expo is producing the next generation of scientists, innovators and engineers, whose research projects are on par with upward trends in the vermiculite global markets, and could be impactful for the changing world.”

More impressive research by the country’s top young scientists will be showcased at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) which takes place from 7 to 9 December 2022. More details will be shared soon.


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