Annex A- Group Research Proposal

Part A
Group Project Proposal (Science)
SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, SINGAPORE
INVESTIGATIVE SKILLS IN SCIENCE
Names:
- David Yeong Zhijie
- Chew Yean Yee (Clarice)
- Ian Lee Zi Xu
- Go Zong Han
Class: S2-06
Group Reference:  C

1. Indicate the type of research that you are adopting:

[ ] Test a hypothesis: Hypothesis-driven research
e.g. Investigation of the anti-bacteria effect of chrysanthemum

[ ] Measure a value: Experimental research (I)
e.g. Determination of the mass of Jupiter using planetary photography

[ X ] Measure a function or relationship: Experimental research (II)
e.g. Investigation of the effect of temperature on the growth of crystals

[ ] Construct a model: Theoretical sciences and applied mathematics
e.g. Modeling of the cooling curve of naphthalene

[ ] Observational and exploratory research
e.g. Investigation of the soil quality in School of Science and Technology, Singapore

[ ] Improve a product or process: Industrial and applied research
e.g. Development of a SMART and GREEN energy system for households


2. Write a research proposal of your interested topic in the following format:

Title: Investigation of the effect of cobalt catalyst on the efficiency of electrolysis

A. Problem being addressed

Non-renewable energy is creating more problems for mankind rather than solving it. Prices of gases used for cars and everyday uses are increasing as Fossil Fuels are running out. Fossil fuels are slowly depleting as the population increases heavily and more natural resources are required for daily stuff. In contrast, there are many other renewable energy source such as solar energy or wind energy. Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies. Also, renewable energy is less likely to run out ever. It can accommodate our future generations. However, most of them are costly and requires the building of a large system to accommodate them. They require much land to build them and of course, with the increasing population, that could be a problem, especially in small countries such as Singapore.

A solution for this is water splitting- a technique to separate hydrogen from water for possible hydrogen fuel cells of the future. Many different ways are going on now such as adding cobalt oxide nanoparticles and light for the water to separate into hydrogen and oxygen. However, the cobalt oxide degrades too quickly. ( University of Houston, 2013) Experiments like this make it unreliable and many would reject this idea, making it impossible for hydrogen fuel cells to be used by future generations. Another way is by using a silicon semiconductor coated in an ultrathin layer of nickel and it could help pave the way for large-scale production of clean hydrogen fuel from sunlight. (Shwartz-Stanford, 2013) However, this requires sunlight therefore, not a good investment. The challenge is to have something low cost yet efficient.

One of the main barriers blocking wide scale use of fuel cells is the expensive catalyst used to produce hydrogen fuel from water. However, an alternate way is making catalyst from a combination of metal compounds. Making catalyst films with a uniform distribution of multiple metals are inexpensive compared to normal water splitting. A good catalyst can lower the amount of electricity that is needed to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water. The hydrogen would then be stored in tanks and fed into fuel cell to produce electricity as needed. (Martin LaMonica, 2013)

Cobalt catalyst is one of the choices presented to us and since it is low cost and not a platinum catalyst, we have decided to look into cobalt catalyst. However, to prove cobalt catalyst's use in electrolysis, we have to ensure the efficiency will be improved when cobalt catalyst is introduced. Therefore, our experiment allows us to investigate this cause.

The independent variable is the presence of cobalt catalyst
The dependent variable is the efficiency of electrolysis
The constants are:
(a) The same amount of phosphate buffer
(b) The same breadboard, batteries and magnetic stir plate and voltmeter
(c) Material of electrodes

B. Hypotheses

The hypothesis is: If cobalt catalyst is added, the efficiency of electrolysis would improve.

C. Description in detail of method or procedures (The following are important and key items that should be included when formulating ANY AND ALL research plans.)
Equipment list:
9V batteries x4
22-gauge electrical wire
Alligator clips x12
Wire cutters and strippers
Breadboard, about 3" x 2"
10K Ohm resistor
Voltmeter/Multimeter (must be able to read 10 millivolts)
Cola; any brand, such as Coke, Pepsi, or a generic brand, will work
Cup or jar that the nickel metal strips can completely fit inside (1); must be taller than 5 inches.
250 mL beaker
Small Styrofoam block
Nickel metal strips x2 ; strips should be approximately 5 inches tall and ¾ inch wide.
0.1 M phosphate buffer solution, pH 7.0 (500ml)
This buffer should contain 2.63 g monopotassium phosphate (KH₂PO₄) (FW 136.09 g/mol) and 4.35 g sodium phosphate (Na₂HPO₄) (FW 141.96 g/mol) (to lower the pH to 7.0) and brought to 500 mL using deionized (DI) water for a total phosphate concentration of 0.1 M.
Magnetic stir plate and stir bar x1
Pair of disposable gloves
Metal scoop for chemicals
Cobalt Nitrate (10 g)


• Procedures: Detail all procedures and experimental design to be used for data collection



Creating the Galvanostatic Electrochemical Cell

1.Build a circuit on the breadboard consisting of the batteries, resistor, and voltmeter/multimeter.


2a Connect the four 9V batteries in series using some wire and 6 alligator clips.Cut each piece of wire to the desired length with the wire cutters. When using wire to attach components in a circuit, the ends of each piece of wire need to be stripped, with the wire stripper, before creating the connection. Connect the batteries so that the negative end of one battery is connected to the positive end of the next battery in the series.
Chem_img126.jpg

Figure 1 : This diagram shows how two different type of breadboards can be wired into a circuit with the various electrical components and also shows the correct completed circuit.

 b Using a piece of wire, connect the positive end of the series of batteries to the breadboard power bus

 c Connect the 10K Ohm resistor

 d Connect the positive (red) lead from the voltmeter/multimeter to the breadboard

 e Connect the negative (black) lead from the voltmeter/multimeter to the breadboard

 f Using a piece of wire, attach the negative (-) end of the series of batteries to the ground bus (far right column) of the breadboard



3.Using the voltmeter/multimeter, make sure the circuit reads >30V

4.Use the nickel metal strips as electrodes. The nickel electrodes will serve as the scaffold for formation or electroplating of the cobalt catalyst.

a To clean the electrodes (nickel metal strips), pour some cola into a cup or jar. Put both electrodes in the cola. Make sure the nickel is entirely immersed. Cola contains phosphoric acid. This acid will do a great job of cleaning the surface of the electrodes. After a few minutes, remove the nickel electrodes, wash them off with plain water, and dry them.
If the jar is too small to immerse the electrodes, do the procedure once then flip the electrodes over (putting the end that was not previously immersed in the Cola) and repeat.

 b Construct a method to secure electrodes within a small beaker or jar that leaves the top of the electrodes readily available to make an electrical connection to the rest of the circuit you started preparing above. It is important to ensure that the separation between the electrodes remains the same throughout the experiment. When securing the electrodes make sure to:
Position the electrodes 1-2 centimeters (cm) apart.
Make sure the electrodes are securely in place and not dangling freely or touching the sides of the beaker.
Position the electrodes so that they will, later, once the buffer has been added to the beaker, only be immersed half way in the buffer. Note: It is critical that the top of the electrodes do not touch the buffer.
Chem_img091.jpg
Figure 2: This is an example of how the nickel electrodes can be suspended in the beaker to make an electrochemical cell


5. Add 0.1 M phosphate buffer solution, pH 7.0, to the beaker with electrodes so that the nickel electrodes are submerged half way in the buffer solution.

6. Place the stir bar in the bottom of the jar.
Make sure that the electrodes are not so low that they will be bumped by the stir bar. If they are, raise them up until they are not.

7. Connect the nickel electrodes to the rest of the circuit using copper wire and alligator clips
For both types of breadboards shown, one wire is connected to a position in the same row as the voltmeter/multimeter's positive lead, and the other wire is connected to a position in the same row as the voltmeter/multimeter's negative lead (on the other half of the breadboard).
Figure 3 : The pictures on the right shows the final circuit after connecting the electrodes. The top picture is a close up picture of how the circuit should be connected in real life and the bottom is the schematics of the circuit.

Adding the Cobalt Catalyst and Measuring Its Effects
1. With the electrodes securely in place inside the small beaker, place the beaker on the magnetic stir plate. Turn on the stir plate and get the stir bar moving at a constant rate.
Make sure that the stir bar does not bump the electrodes. Adjust the electrodes if needed, but then keep them in the same position throughout the rest of the experiment.

2. Monitor the voltage readout on the voltmeter/multimeter. It should range between 1.9-2.4v and will take at least five minutes to stabilize. After the voltage reading has stabilized, record this voltage in your lab notebook. This is the baseline voltage value for the electrochemical cell.

3. Put on a pair of disposable gloves and, using the metal scoop, add a pinch of the cobalt nitrate to the jar with the phosphate buffer.  With the cobalt source and the energy provided by the batteries, the catalyst will start to form.
Adding small amounts of cobalt nitrate each time is critical. The cobalt nitrate concentration must remain very low so the solution does not become cloudy
Figure 4 : This shows that only a small amount of cobalt nitrate should be added to the buffer each time

4. The cobalt-based catalyst will begin to electroplate onto the anodic (connected to + side of the battery) nickel electrode. As the catalyst film grows, you will see a brown film growing on the anode, and the voltage readout on the voltmeter/multimeter will slowly drop. Eventually, after several minutes, the voltage will settle to a stable reading.
As the reaction takes place, you will see tiny bubbles forming on the nickel electrodes
Chem_img097.jpg
Figure 5 : The picture on the right shows no bubbles emerging from the cobalt nitrate and the picture on the left shows the progressing reaction of the gases formed, creating tiny bubbles that are covering the nitrate.

5. Once the voltage readout stabilizes, you can add more cobalt nitrate to the solution to initiate formation of more cobalt-based catalyst. Again, add only a small amount of cobalt nitrate at a time.

6. Repeat step 5 until the voltage does not appear to change with the addition of more cobalt nitrate. In this instance, the cobalt-based catalyst will continue to work, but no additional catalyst material will form.

7. Fill a second beaker with the same amount of phosphate buffer solution that you put in the first beaker.

8. Carefully remove the nickel electrodes from the phosphate buffer and put them into the second beaker that you just filled with fresh phosphate buffer.
The beaker that the electrodes were in will still contain some un-reacted cobalt nitrate, so the electrodes should be transferred to a beaker with fresh phosphate buffer.
Be careful not to jostle the electrodes when transferring them to the new beaker. It is important that they remain in the same position relative to each other and stay the same distance apart or it could give you inaccurate results.


• Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks  and safety precautions to be taken.

1. Connecting the 9V batteries
- Can cause burns or electric sparks when handled inappropriately
- Can ignite fires therefore, is level 2/4  of posing threats.
- Vulnerability : People might get burnt and if is nearby a flammable object, the room may catch fire, causing casualties, property damage, environmental contamination.
Precautions: - Do not expose to fire
- Read and follow precautionaries on battery
- Do not attempt to open battery
- If leaking or damaged, immediately dispose it correctly
- Make sure area is well ventilated
- Never lean over battery when testing or charging or experimenting
- Ensure components and wiring do not come into contact with each other to cause a short circuit.



2. Cobalt Nitrate
- They can cause skin and eye irritation/ To those who have sensitive skin, it will cause rash.
- Is not deadly, however for those who have allergies , they might be hospitalized. Also, if it comes into contact with the eye, it may cause blindness or decrease vision abilities.
- Only affects people. Does not do damage to inanimate objects  Might cause environmental contamination if not disposed correctly
- Do not eat.
Precautions:    - Wear Lab Goggles
               - Wear disposable gloves
- Handle with care
- Keep the lid sealed after use
- Place it at a safe corner

• Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results that answer research questions or hypotheses

1. To measure the efficiency of the phosphate buffer without cobalt , we use a equation:
Figure 6: The formula for calculating efficiency of the cobalt

1.23V is the necessary voltage needed to maintain 3mA current when there is no resistive loss and if the water splitting reaction was completely efficient. (We calculated current by I=V/R.

2. To measure the efficiency of the phosphate buffer with cobalt, we also use the same equation however we change the ideal voltage and there is same current.

3. We then compare them from there.


D. Bibliography: List at least five (5) major references (e.g. science journal articles, books, internet sites) from your literature review. If you plan to use vertebrate animals, one of these references must be an animal care reference. Choose the APA format and use it consistently to reference the literature used in the research plan. List your entries in alphabetical order.

Andy Extance  (2013, April 14) Split Water Splitting raises Green Hydrogen Hopes Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2013/04/green-energy-cheaper-hydrogen-separate-water-splitting

Jason Falconer (2013, January 11) Inexpensive catalyst for producing hydrogen under real-world conditions found Retrieved from http://www.gizmag.com/cambridge-hydrogen-cobalt-catalyst/25723/

Mark Shwartz-Stanford (2013, 13 November) Device uses light to split water into clean hydrogen Retrieved from http://www.futurity.org/device-uses-light-split-water-clean-hydrogen/

Martin LaMonica (2013, 28 March) A cheaper way to make Hydrogen from Water Retrieved from http://www.technologyreview.com/view/512996/a-cheaper-way-to-make-hydrogen-from-water/



Renewable Energy World (2014, 17 July) Types of Renewable Energy Retrieved from http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/tech/home

Renewable Energy World (2014, 17 July) Why is renewable energy important? Retrieved from http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/tech/why

Science Buddies (2014, July 15) Electronics Primer: Introduction Retrieved from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Elec_primer-intro.shtml#introduction

Science Buddies (2014, July 15) Electronics Primer: Use a breadboard to build and test a simple circuit Retrieved from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Elec_primer-simplecircuit.shtml

Science Buddies (2013, August 6) Water to Fuel to Water: The fuel cycle of the Future Retrieved from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Chem_p099.shtml#summar

University of Houston (2013, 15 December) Researchers split water into hydrogen, oxygen using light, nanoparticles Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131215160904.htm

Water for Fuel (2014,18 July) Hydrogen: Natural Fuel of the universe Retrieved from http://www.waterforfuel.com/
































Part B
Group Project Proposal (Science)
SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, SINGAPORE
INVESTIGATIVE SKILLS IN SCIENCE
Names:
- Clarice Chew Yean Yee
- Go Zong Han
- Ian Lee ZiXu
- Yeong Zhijie David
Class: S2-06
Group Reference: C


1. Indicate the type of research that you are adopting:
[ ] Test a hypothesis: Hypothesis-driven research
e.g. Investigation of the anti-bacterial effect of chrysanthemum

[ ] Measure a value: Experimental research (I)
e.g. Determination of the mass of Jupiter using planetary photography

[ X ] Measure a function or relationship: Experimental research (II)
e.g. Investigation of the effect of temperature on the growth of crystals

[ ] Construct a model: Theoretical sciences and applied mathematics
e.g. Modeling of the cooling curve of naphthalene

[ ] Observational and exploratory research
e.g. Investigation of the soil quality in School of Science and Technology, Singapore

[ ] Improve a product or process: Industrial and applied research
e.g. Development of a SMART and GREEN energy system for households


2. Write a research proposal of your interested topic in the following format:
Title: An investigation of the effect of shapes on the speed of cars

A. Question being addressed

Many racing cars have different shapes and sizes, but which shape can achieve maximum speed? Engineers have been trying to improve the aerodynamics of a car which can achieve a high speed meant for racing.  We are trying to see how the shapes affect the speed of the car, so that we can conclude which shape is the most effective in that purpose (speed).

Some possible factors are the flow field of the front, side walls and roof, underbody gaps. (Tajos, 2002) In modern day, many cars have been built like an aeroplane rather than the basic design of a simple block like car. The record breaking fastest car,  with nose that's as small as possible and was built to have a minimized frontal footprint. Similar to an airplane, the VLC also features its own type of wings that project outward from the car's slipstreamed body to hold the auto's wheels. (Maxey, 2014) Also, simple block shapes can be used in the experiment, to contrast with the sleeker designs we intend to test. Another factor of speed would be rear-wings or spoilers. These spoilers are notably seen in race cars to prevent the car from being lifted off the ground by improving aerodynamics, reduce drag, improve handling and fuel efficiency etc. (AboutCar, 2014)

Many engineers have refined the cars over the years to make them more aerodynamic, more powerful for their own purposes. For the case of a sports car, it requires a very aerodynamic body that allows the car to travel at the fastest possible speed produced by the engine. Similarly this can be applied to everyday cars. By reducing how much the engine needs to work by improving aerodynamics, we can cut costs on fuel therefore making it better for the economy. This is why we decided to look into how different shapes can affect the speed of cars.


The independent variable are the shapes and forms.
The dependent variable is the speed of the cars
The constants are:
(a) The type and model of car used
(b) The same track used for the race
(c)  The same data logger and photogates used for data analysis
(d) The same type of styrofoam the shapes are cut out from
(e) The placement of the track (weather, mainly wind factors)

B. Hypotheses

The hypothesis is the sleeker the shape of the styrofoam attached to the car, the faster the car will go

C. Description in detail of method or procedures (The following are important and key items that should be included when formulating ANY AND ALL research plans.)
Equipment list:
- Model cars x2
- Styrofoam cutter/ hacksaw
- Ruler
- Styrofoam boxes x3
- Track
- Pen
- Photogates x2
- Data Logger

• Procedures: Detail all procedures and experimental design to be used for data collection
Building cars and shapes
1. Build the model car, following the instructions given in the box provided. Then, record the rough measurements by a ruler.
2. Pen and draw the shapes you want to make (at least 4), noting the exact measurements of the width of the car, height and length. Label the measurements onto the final draft.
3. Following the draft, take a styrofoam box and begin using a hacksaw to form out the shape. Place a dustbin below to collect the debris. Start hacking until you form out the rough shape and polish it with sandpaper on a wooden block to smoothen the edges and the surface.
Figure 1: A styrofoam block and a hacksaw example and a picture of what we can do with a hacksaw on a styrofoam block.

4. Follow step 3 with the remaining desired shapes.
5. Remove the original cover of the car that is provided in the box since we will only need the body of the car.
6. Use black insulating tape to attach the shapes that we want to the car as other stronger tapes will only damage the shape of the styrofoams or the car itself.

Record the speed
1. Build the track and lay it out on a secluded area without weather change that will affect the track itself
2. Place the two photogates at a fixed area of a track and connect them to a data logger. Then, connect the data logger to the track.
Figure 2: An example of photogates set up on a track

3 Attach the shapes made of styrofoam onto the car individually and let it race through the track for four rounds. This makes sure the data logger records four timings for each car.
4 Record Observations

• Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks and safety precautions to be taken.

1. Hacksaw
Hacksaw is used for cutting materials such as wood, styrofoam etc. It resembles a saw therefore there are sharp edges. Vulnerability is Level 3 as it can contaminate your skin if cut
Precautions:   -Don't leave it lying around
-Make sure you hold it by the handle

2. Styrofoam
Styrofoam is an everyday product however it contains a harmful ingredient called Polypropylene that can cause irritation of eyes and skin and effects on the nervous system. The vulnerability level is Level 4.
Precautions:   - Recommended to use styrofoam cutter
- Do not get too close to the styrofoam; do not sniff.
- Cut the block of styrofoam beside a bin such that the shavings fall into the bin instead of the ground and table

• Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results that answer research questions or hypotheses
1. Tabulate the data collected from the light sensor and photogates after each trial.
2. Using distance= speed X time formula, calculate the speed of the cars from the timing recorded.
3. Put the data into a bar graph and conclude the findings.

D. Bibliography: List at least five (5) major references (e.g. science journal articles, books, internet sites) from your literature review. If you plan to use vertebrate animals, one of these references must be an animal care reference. Choose the APA format and use it consistently to reference the literature used in the research plan. List your entries in alphabetical order.

AboutCar (2014, August 26) Of Wheels and Wings-Improving Your Car’s Aerodynamics
Retrieved from http://www.aboutcar.com/car-advice/of-wheels-and-wings-improving-your-car’s-aerodynamics/

Formula 1©  (2014, August 18) Aerodynamics
Retrieved from

Henning Olson (2012, September 5) Suspension Kinematics and its effect on performance

Kyle Maxey (2014, March 5) Inside the Aerodynamic Design of a Record Breaking Car



Patrick E. George (2014, August 18) How aerodynamics work Retrieved from http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/fuel-economy/aerodynamics.htm

Ryan Bubear (2014, January 14) 12 of the most aerodynamic cars in production right now Retrieved from http://motorburn.com/2014/01/12-of-the-most-aerodynamic-cars-in-production-right-now/

Shelaan (2014, August 25) The Physics of Airfoil shapes on Birds and Cars Retrieved from http://w3.shorecrest.org/~Lisa_Peck/Physics/syllabus/phases/gases/gaswp05/shelaan/home.html

Tamás Lajos (2002) The basics of vehicle aerodynamics Retrieved from http://www.ara.bme.hu/oktatas/letolt/Vehicleaerodyn/Vehicleaerodyn.pdf

Wikipedia (2014, July 8) Automotive Aerodynamics
Retrieved from

G.P. Thomas (2013, February 22). Materials Used In Formula One (F1) Cars.

Retrieved August 26, 2014, from http://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=8194

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