LHS Science Research Students Sweep Gold Medals at ISWEEEEP
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Four Lawrence High School seniors- Andrew Chen, Sneha Chittabathini, Steven Krim, and Alexandra Tse- won gold medals for their research projects at the International Sustainable World Project Olympiad (Energy, Engineering & Environment) ((ISWEEEP) held this year from May 8 – 12 in Houston, Texas.

The mission of ISWEEEP is to create a collaborative yet competitive environment in which students can present their innovative ideas to take on today’s challenges in energy, engineering, and environment, which will ensure a sustainable world for tomorrow. Finalists were chosen to present at ISWEEEP from more than 2300 entries. Nearly 400 finalist research projects were presented from 68 countries around the world and from 41 states in the US.

Steven Krim created a thermally conductive, flame-retardant Polypropylene composite for his Engineering project. He mechanically incorporated into the plastic graphene, which is a single-layer sheet of carbon atoms, along with other additives, and found that this quadrupled polypropylene’s heat conductivity while making it more flame retardant. Krim’s composite has applications for use in condenser boilers, where the metal coil normally used can quickly corrode due to the production of acidic by-products, whereas polypropylene is resistant to acid corrosion. Krim conducted his research at SUNY Stony Brook under the direction of Dr. Miriam Rafailovich.

Andrew Chen, Sneha Chittabathini, and Alexandra Tse developed a novel method of increasing the efficiency of Organic Polymer Solar Cells for their Energy project. They impregnated graphene sheets with gold-nanoparticles and added this to the active layer of the solar cell to increase its organization, and thus, its electricity-producing capability. They found that their technique increased solar cell efficiency by nearly 50%. In addition, they developed a new technique of applying a graphene electrode to the top of the solar cell which would lower the cost of cell production while increase its longevity. The team also conducted their research at SUNY Stony Brook under the direction of Dr. Miriam Rafailovich and LHS teacher Rebecca Isseroff.

Immediately after ISWEEEP, Chen, Chittabathini and Tse flew to Phoenix, Arizona as finalists to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held May 12-18th.

Photo from left to right: LHS Science projects teacher Rebecca Isseroff; LHS seniors Sneha Chittabathini, Alexandra Tse, Steven Krim, and Andrew Chen