Thursday, July 30, 2009

Prince Alberter’s Silver Science Medal

- Abigail Modra -

When Joshua Fodor's biology teacher at the Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology asked him if he would like to enter the Science Expo in the Southern Peninsula in the second term, he accepted even though there were only three weeks left to prepare a project. The theme was about Thinking Green, and with our town in mind, he came up with the idea of a Township Geyser.

The actual model is effective, economic and easy to build. It consists of: an oil drum, a 5-litre water bucket, about one metre of 5-cm copper pipe and one connecting joint. The oil drum has a small opening cut at the bottom of one side for the fire place. Joshua and his friend Yaghia Mitchle were able to find all of the parts except the joint, which they had to buy.

The concept is simple: the cold water runs from the bucket through the pipe that coils inside the drum. The fire inside the drum then heats the water which is pushed up the pipe by convection (the movement of heat by a moving liquid or gas) and comes out at the end as hot water, which if not used, falls into the bucket and cycles again. This way less water is used and the geyser also serves as a heater.

After hours of hard work and planning, their project was ready! His headmaster was so impressed with the model that he told them to patent it the very day that he saw it! Joshua said that they did their poster at the last minute – the day before the Expo.

All of their work paid off, as they were awarded a Silver Medal, and narrowly missed a Gold! Apparently there was just one thing wrong with the poster! This paled into insignificance when Joshua and Yaghia were chosen to represent South Africa at a science expo in Tunisia. For personal reasons, Joshua was unable to attend.

Their success has inspired them to do even better at the National Science Expo in August. Some of the improvements that they wish to make include insulating the geyser, fitting a tap to the pipe and, of course, correcting that one mistake on the poster.

Good luck from Prince Albert, Joshua! Hopefully next time we see you it will be with that Gold Medal!

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