Selah Intermediate School; Selah, Wash.
Team Members: Grace Harris, Morgan Hullinger, Kaytlin Gross and Danielle Heitman (Team Advisor)
The “Scientific Seahorses” set out to develop a new type of insulation that would resist heat flow better than other kinds of insulation. This new type of insulation could benefit both the team’s community and the environment by lowering heating and cooling bills and decreasing electricity use. The team developed “Vacuum Insulation.” To simulate a wall, the team used silicone grease, creating an air tight seal between a wood frame and acrylic sheeting. Next, they attached a layer of foil to one side to stop radiation. Last, they heated one side with a heater and tested the temperature on the inside and outside while the vacuum kept the air inside the wall. The students concluded that the “Vacuum Insulation” was a success with an R-value of about 4.75, which has the best resistance to heat flow (compared to 3.1-4.3 for other insulations).