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Making air filters from coir and nano silver: Two female students in Bac Giang win third prize at national competition

(BGO) – A project to make air filters from coir and antibacterial nano silver particles by Nguyen Ngoc Minh, class 8A5 and Le Thu Thao, class 8A6, of Tran Phu Secondary School (Bac Giang city, Bac Giang province) won the first prize in the provincial science and technology competition, and the third prize in the national science and technology competition for secondary school students in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Having a fondness for drinking coconut water, each time when they received bonuses or scholarships, Ngoc Minh and Thu Thao went to tea shops. Seeing coconut shells being wasted, the pair wondered how to turn this waste into a useful material, limiting the impact on the environment.

Bac Giang province, air filters, coir and nano silver, female students, third prize, national competition, science and technology competition

Nguyen Ngoc Minh (right) and Le Thu Thao (left) and teacher Tran Thi Tuyet.

Sharing the thinking with her uncle, Minh came up with the idea of making air filters from coir and asked Thao to do it together. Right after that, the project was enthusiastically supported by Tran Thi Tuyet, a Chemistry teacher in charge of guiding scientific research projects at Tran Phu Secondary School. At the end of 2019, the two started to work on the project on manufacturing air filters using coir and antibacterial nano silver.

In order to have materials for the project, the girls went to nearby tea shops to ask for used coconut shells and proposed Tuyet to buy nano silver powder in the market. Taking advantage of the days off and breaks, Minh and Thao peeled and then tore them into fibers to use as research materials. It took the pair more than a week to turn shells of 20 coconuts into large fibers which were dried and then ground into power.

Both Minh and Thao did not specialise in Chemistry, but the scheme required chemistry knowledge at high school, even university level, so they had to learn more from their friends and teachers. At that time, Tran Phu Secondary School did not have enough conditions for students to perform difficult experiments. Therefore, teacher Tuyet asked Bui Thi Van Anh, a lecturer of the Hanoi University of Technology, to provide additional knowledge and guidance so that the two students can implement some difficult steps.

All materials were transferred to the laboratory in Hanoi. For many months, both Minh and Thao studied and practiced every Saturday and Sunday. Instructed by the teacher, the two understood better and then competently performed steps to make air filters. This whole process was done in the laboratory of the Hanoi University of Technology under the guidance of lecturer Bui Thi Van Anh. Because all of the experiments used chemicals, it could be dangerous if they did not know how to use.

With their efforts in both study and scientific research, recently, the two students received the Certificates of Merit from the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee and the title of “Uncle Ho’s Good Children” of Bac Giang province in 2020 from the provincial Ho Chi Minh Vanguard Children’s Council. Previously, Ngoc Minh was honored to attend a meeting with Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh in Hanoi city.

To complete the air filter product, the two students mixed activated coir powder with nano silver solution and water with a certain amount. This whole mixture was absorbed with medical cotton and then dried naturally. The end product was cotton impregnated with coir and nano silver. This core was inserted into the air filter in the existing filter machine. In addition to dust filtering, the filter can kill some harmful bacteria.

Despite facing many difficulties and experiencing many failures that made Minh and Thao sometimes think of giving up the work, with the encouragement of their families and teachers, they completed the project to make air filters from coir and antibacterial nano silver. The product is now installed for trial in a filter machine in two classrooms of Tran Phu Secondary School.

After winning the first prize in the provincial science and technology competition for the 2019-2020 school year, their project represented Bac Giang province at the national competition, competing with 137 participating projects in 20 fields. After many rounds, the project won the third prize.

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Tuyet Mai

Bac Giang province, air filters, coir and nano silver, female students, third prize, national competition, science and technology competition
 
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