The science projects below were selected as winners of the Exemplary Projects in Energy and Conservation (EPEC) Awards. Although this distinguished awards program is no longer sponsored, these regional science fair projects represented some of the best energy projects in Brevard County, Florida.
Rachel V. – 4th Grade, 2004
Saturn Elementary, Cocoa
The angle of the panel does affect the speed.
(Professor Sunny's note: Rachel used a 3V solar panel adjusted at the rear of the vehicle to specific test angles. All trials were run at the same time of the day, on the same course that faced directly toward the sun.)
The solar panel's angle does affect the speed of the solar car. Twenty to fourty degree angles are all about the same, about 4.1 seconds to 4.3 seconds. Zero and three degrees are between 7.4 seconds and 10.6 seconds.
The angle of the panel does affect the speed of a solar car. The higher the angle was, the faster the car went. The sun's rays gave more power when more of the panel was facing the sun.
Zak B. – 4th Grade, 2005
Cape View Elementary,
I predict that my solar box oven can pasteurize water to 65° Celsius, 150° Fahrenheit.
With hourly adjustment to the sun on an average sunny day, the water was heated to 65° Celsius, 150° Fahrenheit, which was adequate to pasteurize water to kill germs and harmful bacteria.
Is there a difference if air instead of pure oxygen is used in a fuel cell?
Dominick C. – 6th Grade, 2005
Suntree Elementary, Melbourne
I believe there is a difference because of the reduced oxygen supply; indeed, the air only contains 21% oxygen (78% nitrogen, 1% argon and other gases).
My hypothesis was correct. There is a difference in the characteristic curve of a hydrogen fuel cell when using air instead of oxygen. This experiment showed that the current rises quickly as the resistance is increased, which puts a greater demand for electricity on the fuel cell. Using air resulted in a dip in the characteristic curve at higher currents as a result of the reduced oxygen supply. The air which provides less oxygen resulted in the fuel cell not being able to produce enough electricity for the demand because of this reduced oxygen supply.
Will a tracking device make the solar cell collect more energy?
Laura D. – 8th Grade, 2005
Johnson Middle, Melbourne
If the motorized solar cell track stays in alignment with the sun, then it will collect more energy than a fixed solar cell.
Based on the data collected, the researcher concludes that her hypothesis was correct. If there is a tracking device on a solar cell then, it will collect more power than a fixed solar cell. In this project the solar cell with the tracking device collected 12.58% more power than the fixed solar cell. Sunny days like December 12th, 2004 when there were hardly any clouds, the tracking solar cell collected almost 15% (14.49%) more power. On days when it was very overcast, there would still be more power collected by the solar cell but only about 9 or 10 percent.
Corey W. – 9th Grade, 2006
Palm Bay High, Plam Bay
1) It is hypothesized that the lower the air pressure surrounding the fuel cell, the lower the output of the fuel cells.
2) It is hypothesized that the higher the air pressure surrounding the fuel cell, the greater the electrical output.
3) It is hypothesized that the created fuel cell will function and provide electrical output, but that its output would be less than that of the manufactured fuel cell.
In conclusion, all of the hypotheses were rejected. Hypothesis 1 stated that a decreased atmospheric pressure would decrease the voltage output. Hypothesis 2 stated that an increased atmospheric pressure would increase the voltage output. Both of these statements were disproved by the data.
1.0 atmospheres of pressure, or standard air pressure, provided he lowest electrical voltage yield from both types of fuel cell. While 1.5 atmospheres of pressure increased the voltage yield, it did so only marginally. The decrease in atmospheric pressure to .5 atmospheres provided the greatest electrical yield. Hypothesis 3 stated that the created fuel cell would provide less voltage than the manufactured cell. This was also disproved. At no point during testing did the voltage output of the manufactured cell exceed that of the created cell.
Elizabeth L. – 9th Grade, 2006
Melbourne Central Catholic, Melbourne
During the Year 1 study, the researcher determined that the y = 3/16 x 2 parabolic solar collector was the most effective curve among four other collectors. The researcher further investigated the y = 3/16 x 2 parabolic solar collector in the Year 2 study by determining the lengths of solar collectors needed to heat water to useful temperatures. The researcher built 18 feet of the y = 3/16 x 2 trough and found that every foot of trough heated about 5.55° F. The researcher determined that five, eight, and eleven feet would be needed to heat water to useful temperatures.
The materials to construct the Year 1 and Year 2 parabolic solar collectors were quite expensive. For the Year 3 study, the researcher decided to build the y = 3/16 x 2 collector out of recycled materials and compare results with the Year 1 study. The researcher built three y = 3/16 x 2 parabolic solar collectors constructed of different inexpensive reflective surfaces: foil tape, aluminum foil, and metallized chip bags. The researcher hypothesized that the metallized chip bag would produce the most heat and that the collectors constructed of recycled materials would produce less heat then the Year 1 collector. The experiment was performed on three different cloud-free days and consisted 17 different trials during various times of the Florida solar window. The foil tape collector produced the most heat (14,649 J). The parabolas constructed of recycled materials were less effective then the more costly parabola in the Year 1 study.