Young scientists to showcase innovative research at Indonesia science competition

A group of exceptional young scientists from South Africa will have the unique opportunity to showcase their scientific aptitude at the Grand Final of the Indonesia International Science Technology and Engineering Competition (ISTEC) in Bali – a prestigious student research competition that seeks to identify innovative solutions to global problems.

The local learners won the opportunity to present their research at the ISTEC while competing at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF), which was held in December 2022.

Research projects that will be showcased at the ISTEC from 10 to 14 May 2023, range from studies into weight affecting piezoelectric output on shoe insoles, to the effectiveness of turning Styrofoam waste into an adhesive.

Luke Boswell, a Grade 9 learner at Pearson High School in Port Elizabeth, will showcase his project, “Investigating the performance and output of the Savonius, Darrieus and Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines”. Boswell created his own miniature wind turbines to determine which type of wind turbine, performing at different wind speeds, produced the most power. Wind turbine generation has been evolving over the years, as designs are streamlined to make the turbines more effective. His research is a beneficial addition to the wind turbines that are available in South Africa.

Ndzhaka Mukela Siweya, a Grade 12 learner at Khanyisa Learning Centre in Giyani, Limpopo, will exhibit his research project, “Does weight affect piezoelectric output on shoe insoles?” Siweya used three different tests to measure the voltage produced and the durability of the shoe sole. It is essential to find a sustainable power source to keep the lights on, and Siweya’s project did just that. He developed an effective, simple, and cost-effective piezoelectric shoe sole that produces enough voltage to power an LED bulb for five minutes. With increased usage, the shoe sole has the potential of powering the LED light for longer.

Zariah Parker, a Grade 10 learner at Star College Cape Town, will showcase her research project, “A solution to Styrofoam pollution: The effectiveness of turning Styrofoam waste into an adhesive”. Parker used different solvents to test which one makes an efficient homemade glue. Styrofoam, which is non-biodegradable, takes up much space in landfills, causing harm to the environment, people, and animals. By looking at the dissolving time of the Styrofoam in the solvent, the mass of the glue produced, the drying time of the glue and the strength of the glue, Parker determined that D-limonene was a better solvent. This quick and easy homemade glue could help to reduce Styrofoam pollution.

Matthew Crouch, a Grade 10 learner at Paul Roos Gimnasium in Stellenbosch, will exhibit his research project, “The use of UV Light to delay ripening and prevent decay of plums”. With food wastage being a major problem in South Africa, Crouch sought to delay the ripening process using Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) treatment, which extends the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables. Most of the studies done on the delayed ripening of fruits and vegetables look at more common produce like tomatoes, while Crouch’s research was done on yellow plums. He found that the plums exposed to UV-C light had smaller pathogen growing and less fruit ripening at room temperature. This is a great contribution and addition to the field.

Wishing the learners well on their journey, is Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sumaya Nassiep, who encouraged the young scientists to take the opportunity to learn from international judges and incorporate the feedback received into enhancing their research projects. “With a keen recognition of the pivotal role of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Innovation (STEMI) in South Africa’s development, Eskom urges the active participation of young people in these fields, as they are the future of the nation’s progress and prosperity. By fostering a pipeline of skilled and enthusiastic scientists and innovators through Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, we can forge a brighter and more promising future for South Africa” said Nassiep.

Registration to take part in Eskom Expo is open. Learners in grades 4 to 12, along with learners from TVET colleges that are in NC2 to NC4 can register their projects by clicking here.

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