Shell STEM Youth Innovation Challenge: Energy Theme Finalist- St. Patrick’s School, the HeatSpace Team

It is now just about a week away from the final judging of the Shell STEM Youth Innovation Challenge (Shell STEM Challenge) happening on the 13 July at the Grassroots’ Club (Address: 190 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, Singapore 568046). Join in our free public viewing of finalists’ prototypes from 2pm to 5pm, no registration is required.

Shell STEM Challenge is a competition open to all secondary three students from schools offering the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Applied Learning Programme (STEM ALP). This challenge is sponsored by Shell Companies in Singapore, supported by Ministry of Education (Singapore) and organised by STEM Inc, Science Centre Singapore.

Let’s see what the HeatSpace Team from St. Patrick’s School has to say about their project based on the energy competition theme- an article contributed by Joviin Charles.  Other team members also working on the project are Rayen Soh Yao Wei, Keverne Gabriel Lee, Richard Mariam, Bryan Tan Jun Long and Siah Qin Xian Sean.

Our project

Our project is called NightDryer.  This is a device with inbuilt ability to heat up an enclosed room for drying clothes, especially during the night. Since it is mainly powered by solar energy, it uses energy in a sustainable manner.  It is particularly useful for adults busy with work and has little time for drying clothes. Since the cost involved in its manufacturing and usage is low, the device is accessible to families with different financial status. In the context of Singapore, the device can be implemented easily into HDB flats.

Science, technology and engineering

A simple scheme of the NightDryer is shown in Figure 1 below. A solar collector is attached to the copper tube, which in turn is coiled around a bigger copper pipe to form the radiator. Connected to whole circuit is a pump. The copper tube is filled with water and when the pump is switch on, the water will start circulating through the whole circuit.  On a hot, sunny day, the solar collector will heat up the water flowing pass . The heated water will then flows down and circulate through the coil on the radiator. Inside the radiator there is a material called Phase Change Material (PCM) which absorbs heat from the heated water and stores it as latent heat. At night, this stored latent heat is released from the PCM into the surrounding, thus functioning as a dryer.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Simple schematic diagram of the NightDryer

The device is a good example of the application of the principles of photovoltaic (using the solar collector to recharge the pump batteries), thermodynamics (transfer of heat between the solar collector, water and radiator) and fluid dynamics (circulating the water using the pump).

Our experience

The biggest challenge for our project is coiling the copper tube to create the radiator! It is back breaking and no joke at all.

Figure 2

Figure 2: My teammates and I coiling the copper tube around the radiator. It took a lot of effort from all of us to do this much coiling.

However, it was great experience for me and I have learnt how to manage a group and be responsible. This is especially important when I eventually embark on my working life, where I hope to pursue a career in scientific research.  

I am personally thankful for our mentor, Dr Anthony Yee, who has guided us into developing our idea. The STEM Educator, Mr Leong Seh Yong, who has been helping us every Wednesday to  put our prototype together and our teacher in charge, Ms Belinda Toh who has supported us from the start.

Eng Yee Peng is the Manager for Media & Communications from STEM Inc, Science Centre Singapore.  Once a TV Writer/Director, Independent Filmmaker and Book Writer, she’s now enjoying working on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by capitalising on the integration of both the digital and traditional media. This article is facilitated by Yee Peng and written by the students from the HeatSpace Team.

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