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2006 Bay Area Science Fair Awards

Congratulations to Chelsea, Turner, and Christopher!
Each year the Pacific Energy Center Staff looks forward to visiting the San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair to view all the student entries and select a few that represent creative work and whose subject matter relates to energy and energy conservation. Jim Chace, the Director of the PEC, serves on the Board of the Directors for the Bay Area Science Fair. This year, we extend our congratulations to the students below.

Chelsea Giuliani – Insulation: The Way to Save Energy

In these days of increasing heating costs, one of the easier ways to save money is to insulate a house efficiently. I wanted to see how different materials worked as insulators in the model house I built. I built a cardboard house with one inch spacing for the walls. I placed six different materials in the walls: shredded paper; hay; soil; sawdust; and rubber to see what was the most efficient, as well a maintaining an empty wall as my control example. I placed heated water in the center of my house and used a thermometer through the roof that measured the decrease of heat over time. I think that rubber, being so dense, will do the best. Also I’ve read about all the problems with rubber tire disposal and if it was a good insulator, this would be a terrific way to utilize it.

Turner Caldwell –Tidal Power: Boon or Bane?

This project is based on what effect tidal turbines might have on reducing tidal flows. How much will the addition of turbines do to a simulated tidal flow situation? I believer that the water turbines will slow the water current and restrict the flow of the flood and ebb tides. I designed an experiment to simulate the ebb and flow of the tides. I had a 200 liter tank which emptied into a “flow chamber” and I timed how long it took to empty this tank. This was repeated three times with no turbines then again with 1,2,3,4, and 5 turbines. The results of each stage were averaged and used to calculate the average speed of the water. The results showed that my hypothesis was correct: the current was slowed after the addition of each turbine. Tidal power is “green energy” and has great potential but its effective slowing of tidal currents must be factored into its usage

Christopher Chen – How does the Intensity of Light Affect the Power Output of Solar Cells?

This project will allow you to sense and visualize how the intensity of light affects the power output of a solar cell by using different wattages of light bulbs, one at a time and place it at a certain distance away from the solar cell. The angles placement of the light bulb in relation to the solar cell were chosen at 90 degrees and at 45 degrees. The intensity of light was further emphasized by having a light reflector socket on and off for each of the angles testing. It was very interesting to do the experiment because the results matched with the prediction I had that is the higher the intensity of the light generates more power output from a solar cell. The important part of learning was how much difference does it make when the parameter of the intensity varies.