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On Friday, two grade 11 learners participated in their fourth Eskom Science Expo where they showcased a new method of filtering salt water into fresh drinking water.

From observing many coastal towns go without water from time to time, Monica Mangadi and Tshepang Phothela from HTS Potchefstroom, spent time researching the current common methods of desalination, Eskom noted in a statement.

Water filtration prototype

They consulted local water expert Linda Bothma, and found information online about ‘Molybdenum Disulfide’, a compound that has been proven to separate the salt from the water in salty water.

The pair explained: “When it’s put in a membrane, it separates the salt from the water. Read more…

“It lets only the water to pass through. We want to use this membrane, which is not used a lot, which actually does the work of 3 membranes in the reverse osmosis process.”

They got their hands on the compound and built an impressive functioning prototype of the filtration pump.

According to the South African parastatal, “their project demonstrated the kind of research thinking that the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists endeavours to cultivate amongst school learners, in addition to the passion needed for excellence in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) subjects, at a tertiary level and in their future careers.”

Project winners

Other great projects came from learners who were named the winners of the Eskom Special Prizes. They were:

Eskom Expo Best Female Award winner: Annica Dennis, a grade 9 learner from Potchefstroom Girls High. She also won a silver medal for her project, the ‘Smart Power Plug’, which is a fully-functioning prototype of a sound and light-sensitive light switch that avoids unnecessary use of electricity in the home.

Eskom Expo Best Energy Award went to the duo of Anmara Omar and Maleeha Mehtar, grade 8 learners from Potchefstroom Girls High, for their project titled, ‘Smart Lighting System’.

Eskom Expo Best Development Award went to grade 7 learners from Madibeng Primary, Tumelo Morakeng and Lebogang Leshola, for their project, ‘Is there any association between mid-arm circumference and blood pressure?’

The high standard of projects from such a young group of participants is a great indicator of the interest and passion for STEMI subjects at a school level in the Dr. Kenneth Kaunda district. Regional Science Fair Director, Maputle, concluded by saying that she hopes the high standard of the projects will be recognised at ISF in October.

“I trust and believe that whichever projects we select this year, are going to come back with gold,” she said.

 

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