Honorable Mention - High School

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 13: Climate Action

2018 Youth Design Challenge

This design concept was developed by participants in the Institute’s Youth Design Challenge. The descriptions below are from the team’s competition entry materials.

School: Gretchen Whitney High School
Location: Cerritos, CA, United States
Coach: Matt Johnson
Team members: Isaac Lee, Charlotte Park

Video Pitch

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Innovation Details

Using easily chargeable materials including nylon, styrofoam, and synthetic wool, Spi-Dust was made as a covering for wheels and exhaust pipes of cars to decrease the PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollution. Conventional filters and the materials themselves would not physically trap the fine dust; however, the motion and movement from the car would generate enough static electricity to allow the function of Spi-Dust. This energy-efficient and easy-to-use model can significantly contribute to the solution against the global warming.

Global warming is significantly augmented by human activity, and one of the major warming mechanisms come from micro dust produced from cars. Inefficient combustion and deteriorating braking systems, tires, and roads contribute to the accumulation and pollution of darker-colored aerosols like black carbon that absorb heat/light. Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 and 10 is also a health hazard as the fine dust can become inhaled and trapped in the lungs and bloodstream. Adding to the haze and warming effects, fine dust must be significantly reduced in the environment.

The team, finding inspiration from the spider web, developed a solution to collect and trap micro dust particles. Webs hold the innate ability that allow them to be easily charged with static electricity while hanging in the air, attracting to prey, pollutants, and fine dust. The team modeled the Spi-Dust to utilize similar characteristics of charge, specifically targeted towards decreasing aerosol production from cars.