2014 Finalists

Investigations

Jack Allison
SA - Pembroke School
Investigation into projectile pre-magnetisation in electromagnetic launchers
Electromagnetic linear accelerators have the potential to revolutionise space exploration. Jack designed an enhancement to improve performance, as well as considering and analysing the way in which the projectile responds magnetically when fired. He built a test rig and light-gate to quantify the effect of the enhancement at different voltages.

Ian Arachi
ACT - Lyneham High School
Ultraviolet protection and clothing
Health problems due to UV radiation exposure are becoming more common in Australia. Ian investigated the protection offered by different materials. He found that darker coloured synthetic materials with UV treatments provided greatest protection.

Macinley Butson
NSW - The Illawarra Grammar School
Slow your row snail!
Macinley designed and built a safe and non-toxic device to stop snails reaching and eating planted seedlings. Barrier material testing revealed that a 5cm water moat and copper tape combination provided the optimal snail shield, stopping 98.5% of all snails.

Conroy Cheers
VIC - Caulfield Grammar School
The effects of texting on driving safety
The use of mobile phones while driving is an illegal, dangerous, yet common activity. Conroy developed a method by which the risks of texting while driving, through hands-on and new hands-free methods could be measured. This process has potential as an educational tool to allow people to experience the dangers of texting while driving.

Yi-Ting (Katherine) Chen
QLD - Queensland Academy for Health Sciences
The effects of low EMF on antimicrobial activity of three antibiotics
Yi-Ting investigated the bioelectric effect - the process by which a combination of antibiotics and electric fields are used to kill bacteria. Overall her results suggested that the electromagnetic radiation (EMF) in conjunction with antibiotics does aid in the process of biofilm degeneration and that tetracycline was the most effective antibiotic of those tested.

Sanjog Chintalaphani
ACT - Lyneham High School
Performance of commercial photovoltaics in North Canberra
Sanjog investigated the efficiency of rooftop solar panels under different site conditions such as orientation, tilt angle, shade and weather, to determine their impact on energy generation. Shade reduced energy production by 21%, and bad tilt angle reduced it by 10%, suggesting that households consider these factors before installation.

Benjamin Coxon
QLD - Trinity Anglican School
Playground surfaces: Force absorption capacity of sand
To improve the safety of playgrounds, Benjamin investigated the suitability of sand as a playground surface. His results determined the depth and type of sand that should be used for maximum absorption and safety.

Sakhi Doshi
QLD - Queensland Academy for Health Sciences
The effects of heavy rainfall on recreational use of waste water
Sakhi examined the effects of the annual heavy rainfall events on the Gold Coast water quality. As waste water is released into areas where human recreation occurs, the confirmation of the presence of E. coli and Bacteroides fragilis bacteria was concerning.

James Gabor
NSW - Chevalier College
The effects of nerve regeneration on nerve function and structure
Attaining an understanding of nerve regeneration would greatly benefit medicine, specifically following spinal cord injury. James' project used earthworms to evaluate nerve structure and function following bisection. The results demonstrated that even though there were some changes in nerve structure, there was still a return of nerve function.

Liam Grieve
TAS - Burnie High School
Troubled waters
Liam investigated the use of plants to remove nutrients from water. By simulating nutrient rich wetland environments and recording concentrations, he found that wetland plants have the potential to preserve waterways.

Cynthia Sin Nga Lam
VIC - Balwyn High School
Applications of titanium dioxide photocatalysis
Cynthia investigated the applications of titanium dioxide photocatalysis on the removal of organic waste in water and the generation of hydrogen gas. The method was found to be efficient, eco-friendly and can be easily implemented due to its simplicity and low cost.

Phoebe Lewis
QLD - Trinity Anglican School
The effects of pH on the calcite carapace of ostracods
Phoebe was interested in the detriment that excess carbon dioxide could cause to the earth's delicate ecosystems, especially to those creatures hidden from the public eye. By immersing calcium carbonate chips in solutions of altered acidity, Phoebe investigated the effect of increased anthropogenic carbon dioxide on the calcite carapace of ostracods.

Angela Liao
ACT - Lyneham High School
Something to chew on: Effects of gum’s flavour on salivary flow rate and pH levels
Saliva is an important factor of oral health and the benefits of chewing gum are well known. Angela's study investigated the effects of gum flavour on saliva flow and pH. Chewing of all gums tested stimulated saliva flow and neutralised pH levels, indicating that chewing any of the gums would have comparable benefits.

Michael McLure
QLD - Biloela State High School
Investigation into the effectiveness of cleaning products on peanut protein
In Australia, many children have life-threatening peanut allergies. Michael's project used protein detection equipment to examine how effective common cleaning products were at cleaning surfaces contaminated by peanut butter.

Somya Mehra
VIC - Balwyn High School
Biosynthesis of ethanol
Bioethanol is a fuel made by fermentation of sugars. Most microorganisms that produce ethanol by fermenting sugars cannot break down xylose (wood sugar), though some treatments can break xylose down further so it can be fermented. Somya investigated the effect of varying levels of xylose on ethanol yields and found that higher concentrations could potentially decrease ethanol production rate.

Shivankaran Muraleedaran
QLD - Trinity Anglican School
Efficiency of wireless power transmission
Shivankaran tested the efficiency and viability of wireless power via strongly coupled magnetic resonances. While he discovered that this method was not suitable for large scale use, the feasibility of this method may improve in the future.

Lewis Nitschinsk
QLD - Queensland Academy for Health Sciences
The optimal reclamation point of phosphate from waste water
Phosphorous is a commonly used chemical in the production of industrial products. As it is non-renewable and highly used, Lewis investigated the optimal reclamation point of phosphate from the water from a treatment facility of a factory through chemical precipitation. Results indicated that the highest percentage reclamation was in the untreated water sample.

James Tucker
TAS - The Hutchins School
CPU overclocking vs increasing RAM
Technology is advancing rapidly and there is constant pressure for consumers to upgrade to new computers to keep up to date. James' project showed that overclocking the CPU was a more effective upgrade than adding RAM to extend the useful lifespan of an average user's computer.

Ranadi Vincent
QLD - Queensland Academy for Health Sciences
The effects of supplying nitrogen to hydroponically grown soybeans
Ranadi investigated the effect of varied supplemental sources of nitrogen on the growth of soybean plants. She looked at the effects of chemical fertiliser, fish fertiliser, rainwater and inoculation with nitrogen fixing bacteria on the development of the plants. She found no significant difference in soybean growth across the experimental conditions, suggesting that growers may not need to supplement nitrogen as much as they have been.

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Engineering

Benjamin Beagley
VIC - St Kevin's College
Bamboo bike
For a cheap, lightweight and organic alternative to industrial metal components, Ben designed and built a bike from bamboo - taking advantage of its strength and flexibility as a construction material.

Claire Beresford
WA - Woodvale Senior High School
Flute posture correction unit
The FPCU (Flute Posture Correction Unit) is a device that corrects a flautist’s posture avoiding the changes in pitch caused by holding the instrument at an incorrect angle. It is made out of wood, aluminium, fabric and conduit pipe which makes the device sturdy yet elegant.

Ethan Butson
NSW - The Illawarra Grammar School
SMART: Stroke management with augmented reality technology
Ethan created the SMART (Stroke Management with Augmented Reality Technology) - a camera based augmented reality system that aims to aid the recovery and increase the safety of stroke patients. By manipulating what they can see, a clearer visual picture is provided to the patient.

Jake Coppinger
ACT - Gungahlin College
Swirlesque: A new form of human-computer interaction
Jake developed the Swirlesque glove - a new and unique form of human-computer interaction. It recognises natural hand gestures and performs actions, communicating through smartphone apps.

Viney Kumar
NSW - Knox Grammar School
The PART program: A signalling system for emergency vehicles
Viney's PART (Police and Ambulances Regulating Traffic) program is an innovative signalling system for emergency vehicles. It will supplement the current sirens and lights systems which have serious limitations in clearing traffic. This will improve response times, potentially saving lives, property and bushland.

Samantha Marley
WA - Woodvale Senior High School
Flute posture correction unit
The FPCU (Flute Posture Correction Unit) is a device that corrects a flautist’s posture, avoiding the changes in pitch caused by holding the instrument at an incorrect angle. It is made out of wood, aluminium, fabric and conduit pipe which makes the device sturdy yet elegant.

Dylan Sury
NSW - Redeemer Baptist School
eyeRow - Forward rowing
By having two gears joining the two halves of an oar, Dylan built a device for a rower that allows them to face forwards to see where they are going, while still completing the more powerful backwards rowing action.

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