Coláiste Chiaráin students have for the third consecutive year stood out in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition Awards ceremony in the RDS, Dublin which was held on Friday last. With a total of four entries in the competition this year, Coláiste Chiaráin walked away with three top prizes.
Seán O’Sullivan, a TY student, looked at “Investigating The Viability of Micro-Level Wind Generation” with his comprehensive project. Seán was awarded 3rd place in the Individual Intermediate technology category and was also the recipient of the Greencoat Renewables Technology Special Award. Seán’s project undertook an investigation on the impact of rotor design and orientation on Micro-Level Wind Generation efficiency. In this he researched, designed, and 3D printed 16 wind turbine rotors, 4 motor housing assemblies, and 2 Arduino Data Capture Boards, undertaking a total of seven experiments. Testing was undertaken in the wind tunnel at the University of Limerick as well as varied outdoor wind conditions.
The best performer
As a result of this investigation and analysis of various known turbine blade designs, Seán’s investigations highlighted a curved blade design that consistently outperformed all other categories of blades in both wind tunnel and outdoor conditions. This design performed on average 19% better than its nearest rival which was the traditional straight bladed rotor that we commonly see in domestic and commercial wind turbines.
Huge increase in electricity costs
Since April 2022 we have seen a 109% increase in average electricity costs. This current energy crisis means that options like domestic wind generation are now more attractive to homeowners and the payback time is effectively cut in half. Arising from Sean’s investigations, the use of a scimitar (curved) shaped blade can further increase the energy generated and therefore reduce payback time even more. It could also mean that smaller rotors could be used to generate the same levels of electricity as the blades that we currently see.
This is Seán O’Sullivan’s second big win at the Young Scientist competition, having been a Junior Physical, Chemical and Mathematical Category winner and Irish Research Council Special Prize recipient in 2021 for his project “Shining a Light on Covid 19 Cleaning Protocols”.
Being sun smart
Aiden Osccar, Caitlin Quain and Katelyn Prior were also prize winners at the exhibition getting a display award for their project, ‘Wearable Device to Alert the user when UV index is high’. Through their research, the students noted that although skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Ireland, over 50% of those surveyed don’t wear sunscreen, with those who did only reapplying every four hours. The device, which can be worn like a watch, sends a reminder every 2 hours to top up the sunscreen while also continuously monitoring the UV index.
Further projects
Two further projects represented Coláiste Chiaráin at this prestigious competition with Matthew Furlong investigating “How to Make an Aircraft Invisible to Radar” and Emily Ceban researching “Using a Plasma Ball to Teach about Electric and Magnetic Fields”.
A proud principal
Commenting on the school’s success, principal, Mr. Gerard O’Sullivan paid tribute to all students and their mentor teacher stating; “We are delighted to see our students’ work being recognised on the national stage. This year we had a total of four entries at the BTYSTE competition.
All of our students undertook months of work, investigation and preparation and great credit is due for all their commitment and drive. In Coláiste Chiaráin we have a special interest in science and STEM areas, in that regard we are delighted to see the interest and enthusiasm of our students with their engagement in BTYSTE. Great credit is due to mentor teacher Ms. Edel Farrell for the work that she does in mentoring our students. Congratulations to Seán on his excellent award in the Intermediate Category and to Aiden, Caitlin and Katelyn for their display award. Well done also to Emily and Matthew on their entries. Our students have been wonderful ambassadors for Coláiste Chiaráin and have done themselves proud.”