Hwa Chong Institution (High School)

Projects Competition 2015

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We declare that the web-report is our own work and does not contain plagiarised material.
Upper Secondary
Engineering Science
Project Title
Energy Saving Glass
Glass allows natural light to enter buildings so that people in the buildings can have a view of the outside. It is increasingly used in modern architecture as it enhance the aesthetics of buildings. Glass is an indispensable green building material because it is recyclable and it brings in natural light and hence reducing the dependency on artificial lighting. However, glass allows heat energy to pass through it and traps the radiant heat in the building, this causes more energy needed to cool the interior of buildings in tropical climate. As such, our group, Energy Saving Glass, embarked on an experiment to investigate and research on various types of glass on their ability to retain heat. Through many long tests and experiments, our group was able to conclude that double-glazed glass was the best type of glass in preventing heat loss through it.
Link to Web-report page
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Link to Video page
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Mr Lim Yew Meng (AGC)
Mrs Ke-Lee Ee Kian (Hwa Chong Institution)
Team Leader/Members

(Name & Class)
Team Leader :

I am very happy that our project has made it to the finals after all our hard work my members and I have put into this project. Besides this achievement, I have learnt many things during the journey we took as we did the project. Overall, it was an enjoyable, fruitful and interesting journey that I will not forget. This is my second time doing a STEM project. The previous STEM project was a failure as the external organization was very unwillingly to spend time to work with us. Fortunately, this year, we teamed up with Asahi Glass Company (AGC) and the external mentor, Mr Lim, was extremely friendly and helpful to our project. He contributed to our project in countless ways. He provided us with the glass and the prototype building that we used in our experiments and taught us many new things about glass manufacturing and the new advances in glass technology. He even invited a building engineer to talk to us about Envelope Transfer Value (ETTV) and how it translates to cost savings. Also, he went an extra mile to guide us on how to make a good presentation. Thus, I am very thankful for his time and effort. This project has taught me many things. Firstly, I have learned new things about glass that I never knew. For example, glass is manufactured by a long process involving heat, cooling and refining. It is astonishing to know that a huge proportion of all glass in the world is actually made by the multinational company AGC. Besides glass, I have also gained more knowledge and skills about conducting fair and reliable experiments. We also had to devise a plan of measuring the temperature of each light bulb to ensure that each light bulb produced the same light intensity and heat. However, we realized that the middle bulb was producing abnormally high amount of heat as compared to the other two. Although this was unexpected, we managed to solve it with a bit of thinking. After conducting 12 1hour experiments and collecting so many data, we also needed to compile them into a graph. I learnt how to use excel to plot the graphs we needed to make sense of the data we collected. After this project ended, we realized that there were a few flaws of the prototype building that could have been addressed. The temperature in the middle is always higher than the sides not only because the light bulb was producing more heat, but also a result of the design of the prototype building. The middle was exposed to all three light bulbs instead of only one. As such, the heat produced by all three light bulbs concentrated in the middle, making it hotter. One way to solve this is to separate the three light bulbs into different compartments. This way, the middle only gets heated by the middle light bulb. In conclusion, this project is something I cherish and appreciate, and I know that the skills and knowledge I gained from this project will be useful in the future.

Group Members :

During the course of this project, I have learnt a lot. Firstly, throughout the course of this project, we have been able to work with an extremely dedicated external mentor. We have been given the opportunity to take up this project and broaden our perspective and knowledge. We have been able to understand and learn a lot about different types of glass through lectures by our external mentor and colleagues. We are extremely thankful to the guidance that our external mentor has given us. The process of the experiment has also allowed me to learn a lot in terms of experimental process, learning the intricate process of carrying experiments. Secondly, I have gained a lot mentally. The process of carrying out the experiment was not easy and we encountered many challenges. For example, we encountered some occasions where our experimental data was lost or experimental data was unsatisfactory. It has taught us to be able to tackle such issues and persevere to carry on the experiment. Also, we also encountered issues where our results were incorrect. As such, we had to brainstorm to think of various methods to solve the issue and carry on our experiment. This has taught us to be patient, and the importance of teamwork, working together to solve problems. Thirdly, my group and I has also learnt to work efficiently and effectively, getting things done quickly and effectively. There were times where we did last minute work, leaving us somewhat unprepared for presentations or late in meeting deadlines, hence requiring rushed work. Therefore, we learnt to not procrastinate and do what has to be done whenever possible to allow for us to be fully prepared and produce the best quality of work.

The project work this year has been the most fruitful throughout my 4 years in Hwa Chong. My group first met our external mentor where we were given an introduction to our project and the experimental set-up as well as planning for how the experiment will be conducted. We then started our various experiments which are conducted during the June holidays. However before starting our experiment, there are several problems that we have to solve such as ensuring that the glass panel is positioned upright and to minimize the amount of heat escaping the prototype building. Initially , we thought such a problem was a trivial one but our external mentor’s insistence made us realized that although they will have little effect on the results, it is still good to do so as we are investigators. Therefore we started to take this seriously and we suggested the use of Styrofoam sheets as they are a bad conductor of heat. Apart from this, we have to find out whether the light bulbs in the prototype building are of the same power whereby they emit similar thermal energy. We were hoping for the bulbs to be of similar power which unfortunately was not the case. Our external mentor then suggested we repeat the experiment switching the positions og the glass to eliminate the problem of non-uniform heating. Before this project, I did not realize that one has to take into consideration so many factors before conducting the experiment. As such, this process of ensuring the experiment is as accurate as possible is definitely an eye opener and I learnt the importance of taking into consideration of all such factors. When conducting the experiment, we find ourselves to be inexperienced and rather slow during the first round of experiments. Cutting styrofoam sheets for sealing and connecting temperature sensors to glass panels took a long time. During the first experiment, we even forgot to save the data collected into a thumbdrive and switched the datalogger off. This means we have to restart the entire experiment again due to a blunder. This incident however thought us to be extra careful in doing every single step during the experiment and that it was always better to be safe than be sorry later. As such, we made efforts to ensure that we double-confirm whether we have saved the data successfully. There were also many unexpected problems we faced throughout the experiment process. During the data collection process, there were instances whereby the datalogger malfunctioned and we inevitably panicked as we risk losing the data recorded. Despite this being a technical problem, it taught me to not always expect things to be smooth-sailing and that bad things come when you least expect it. After several rounds of experiment we found out a solution which is to manually save the data before reluctantly restarting the datalogger. By restarting, the datalogger will then start to function as per normal and we can then save the data into our thumbdrive. All of these challenges we face throughout the project really made us sit down and think of a solution by ourselves and not to always expect the teacher to solve it for us as it is our project. After several rounds of experiments, we managed to conduct the experiment at a faster rate as we have already familiarized ourselves with the experiment procedure. The next challenge is to present the project well enough for the judges to understand it easily within a short amount of time. This was not an easy task and we did not manage to do it successfully in the semi-finals as the judges questioned many parts of our presentation. We also did not manage to finish our presentation within the time limit as we did not rehearse thoroughly. Therefore, during the finals we took into account our past mistakes and with the help and guidance of our mentor, we presented the project in a much clearer way. It was also good news that we finished our presentation within the time limit. But there were still things to improve on such as referring less to our scripts during the presentation. All in all this project was a great experience which put our problem-saving abilities to the test, it was a memorable one and I definitely have many take-aways!

I feel that this project is very enriching and has improved my general knowledge greatly. In the course of conducting various experiments, I have learnt to adopt the right methodology to test the performance of glass. When we first made mistakes in our hypothesis, we adopted the right attitude to look into our mistakes and come out with another hypothesis. From this, I learnt that whenever we face problems, they will always be a solution if we persist to solve the problem. Also, I have learnt that in Scientific experiments, we have to always come up with several experiments in order to testify that our results are accurate and reliable. In addition, as we partnered we an external organization, I have also benefitted a lot from the seminars and workshops provided by the organization and it has enhanced my knowledge on glass greatly. In addition, all these skills learnt in the experiment can be put into practiced as life skills. After this experiments, it had taught me how to endure through hardships and really think and analyse deeply after we face an obstacle. In life, we will definitely face many obstacles. When we face obstacles, we have to analyse it deeply and find ways to curb it. Critical thinking is a skill i learnt after this project as it had taught me really how to dig deep and solve problems. Also, only when we persist on, then we can eventually succeed. Another skill i learnt from this project is how to work as a team. At the start, we might have many conflicts between us due to conflicting viewpoints. However, we have to compromise and learn how to cooperate with each other. It is impossible for us to work individually in this project. In future, when we are in the working industry, it is also very important for us to be able to cooperate well with our colleagues. From this experiment, I learnt that in some conditions, we have to compromise and give in in order to satisfy both parties. We cannot always hope that other people will give in to us. When we learn how to work together as a team, we can complete tasks much effectively and efficiently. Lastly, I also learnt that time management is very important for our project to succeed. We only have 24 hours each day and we have to manage our time properly in order to complete our task efficiently. In conclusion, I am very fortunate to have participated in this project as I have learned many things along the way and also enjoyed myself throughly throughout the whole project.