Share Clean Air

Summary

Second-hand smoking and air pollution are prominent worldwide issues that both go hand-in-hand. At the beginning of this project, I set out to achieve one goal in mind; an efficient and feasible solution for second-hand smoking/air pollution. I chose this particular topic because from traveling a lot, I have experienced the effects of second-hand smoking and air pollution, especially in second and third world countries.

The problem is that the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers contains more than 7,000 chemicals and have led to the annual deaths of an estimated 41,000 non-smokers. These toxic particles found in secondhand smoke have caused numerous health problems including cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, severe asthma attacks, stroke…this list could go on and on. My solution will prevent smoke from entering our bodies. My expected outcome is to develop a solution to this international issue in an efficient, reliable, and feasible way.

I will proudly state that I have in turn, succeeded in this goal after conducting multiple tests with various methods of activated carbon filtering. First, I embarked on a lengthy research journey, and learned many things about the effects of secondhand smoking, how it enters the body, existing solutions, etc. These findings were helpful in determining the best way to go about my project. Next, I created sketches and CAD designs, to visualize a solution I had developed. The main purpose of this solution was the filtering method, so I then had to create a lab and conduct 3 different tests with 3 trials each using different methods of filtering. I tested the residue with paper towels, so I took the paper towels with smoke residue and using a spectrophotometer, calculated the RGB values of each of the colors to detect which paper towel had the darkest hue, meaning the most smoke particles. My conclusion was If the SMELLRID Reusable Activated Carbon Vent Filter is used, then the results will be the best because this filter absorbs the most smoke particles. One aspect that I reflected on was how my conclusion would be applied to my prototype.  After discovering the optimal filter, I reflected on the entire process.

Question / Proposal

Question: Which method of filtering will result in the best outcome?

Problem: The problem is that the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers contains more than 7,000 chemicals and have led to the annual deaths of an estimated 41,000 non-smokers. These toxic particles found in secondhand smoke have caused numerous health problems including cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, severe asthma attacks, stroke… this list could go on and on.

Expected Outcome:  My expected outcome is to develop a solution to this international issue in an efficient, reliable, and feasible way.

Hypothesis/Expectations: I believe that my results/testing will show that if the SMELLRID activated carbon filter is used, the results will be the best because the quantity of activated carbon is the highest.

Research

My First Attempt:

My first idea that I came up with was related to the topic of food science. I wanted to come up with a solution for removing the spice out of spicy foods. I conducted research and found that no solutions for this problem existed. This seemed perfect! Later on, after doing some critical thinking, I thought to myself, “will this truly make an impact in our society and our world?. ” I soon realized that it was time for me to let go of this idea and find something that I was truly passionate about. This entire process taught me that it’s completely okay to abandon an idea, and the process of trial and error is all part of being a great scientist.

After embarking on a completely new idea:

To start, I had to learn what second hand smoke is.

  • The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines secondhand smoke as “tobacco smoke that is exhaled by smokers or is given off by burning tobacco and is inhaled by persons nearby.”

My next step was to learn about why secondhand smoke is a major issue.

  • According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
  • It contributes to major health problems such as heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. It also poses additional threats to children

I learned from Mayo Clinic webpage that some of the toxic chemicals found in second hand smoke include:

  • Ammonia, used in cleaning products
  • Benzene, found in gasoline
  • Carbon monoxide, found in car exhaust
  • Chromium, used to make steel
  • Cyanide, used in chemical weapons
  • Formaldehyde, an industrial chemical
  • Polonium, a radioactive substance

Then, I researched some of the existing solutions:

Existing solution #1

N95 Respirator- This existing solution is the n95 respirator mask. They are commonly used to protect against wildfire smoke.

Pros: Provides substantial protection, Comfortable fit

Cons: Not at all discreet, Not designed for “occupational use: as it states on the product, Can cost up to $30

Existing Solution #2

Surgical mask- This existing solution is the surgical mask. They are commonly used by health professionals during surgery to protect against bacteria.

Pros: Cost effective, Easily accessible

Cons: Does not protect against smoke particles, Very unreliable, Cheap quality

Ultimately, my goal after conducting research now was to take the "cons" from other solutions and use them as "pros" for my solution.

Method / Testing and Redesign

Testing the Solution- Activated Carbon Filters

 

Disclaimer: Choose a safe area to conduct the testing. (at least 10 feet away from flammable materials) Tie hair back (if applies) and wear a mask or wrap a cloth around nose and mouth area. (SAFETY FIRST!) Use assistance from an adult. Do not conduct experiment without adult supervision.

 

Materials:

Camphor

Matchstick or lighter

7 individual paper towels (Bounty)

SMELLRID Reusable Activated Carbon Vent Filter

Vornado MD1-0023 Compatible Replacement Activated Carbon Charcoal Filter.

 

Procedures:

 

Test #1- No Carbon Filter

Light the camphor using a lighter, matchstick, etc.

For the first trial, conduct the test without using a carbon filter. This is to see the visible effects on smoke without any filter.

Hold paper towel directly over the camphor for 5-10 seconds (or until a black residue appears.) Keep a safe distance from the fire, (approximately 2-3 inches) See Diagram 1 (right)

Set the paper towel aside

Take a photo of the paper towel and record in data table.

 

Test #2- SMELLRID Reusable Activated Carbon Vent Filter

Light the camphor using a lighter, matchstick, etc.

Conduct this test using the first activated carbon filter. In this case, this is the SMELLRID Reusable Activated Carbon Vent Filter.

Ask an adult to hold the filter (about 2-3 inches from the fire) while you hold the paper towel above the carbon filter. Essentially this is a fire, carbon filter, and paper towel sandwich (See diagram 2 below.)

Hold paper towel over the carbon filter for 5-10 seconds.

Set the second paper towel aside.

Repeat steps 1-5 of this test two other times using a different paper towel each time to ensure fair results.

Take photos of the paper towel after every trial and record in the data table below

 

Test #3- Vornado MD1-0023 Compatible Replacement Activated Carbon Charcoal Filter

Light the camphor using a lighter, matchstick, etc.

Conduct this test using the second activated carbon filter. In this case, this is the Vornado MD1-0023 Compatible Replacement Activated Carbon Charcoal Filter.

Ask an adult to hold the filter (about 2-3 inches from the fire) while you hold the paper towel above the carbon filter. Essentially this is a fire, carbon filter, and paper towel sandwich :) (See diagram 2 above.)

Hold paper towel over the carbon filter for 5-10 seconds.

Set the third paper towel aside.

Repeat steps 1-5 of this test two other times using a different paper towel each time to ensure fair results.

Take photos of the paper towel after every trial and record in the data table below

Independent Variable (IV): Type of carbon filter

Dependant Variable (DV): Amount of smoke residue absorbed

How did I ensure my testing process was fair?

Like any excellent scientist would know, it is important to keep the playing field even to get accurate results. I ensured that my testing process was fair by conducting 3 trials per test. I used the same materials. I held the paper towel over the flame for the same amount of time. I also only changed one variable at a time.

Saftey measures:

Safety first! In order to be safe, especially because I was working with fire/smoke, I used adult supervision, tied a cloth around my nose/mouth area and avoided flammable materials. My google docs states a disclaimer and further information about safety.

Where did my experiment take place?

The experiment took place at my house. My mom helped me start the fire and I did the rest on my own! 

 

Results

Results:

What does this data communicate?

My data is showing that the trial with no carbon filter (130FOC) had the darkest color, meaning the most smoke particles. The lighter colors have higher RGB values, and the darker colors have lower RGB values. This is important because the amount of smoke particles on the paper towels is based on color.

No Carbon Filter: Great quantity of smoke residue

SMELLRID filter #1: No smoke residue

Vornado filter: Very minimal smoke residue

 

RGB Values: The term RGB stands for red, green and blue. The higher the RGB values, the lighter the color. The lower the RGB's, the darker the color.

After conducting the experiment, in order to convert the photo results into graphs, I needed a numerical value. I researched plenty, and discovered an online spectrophotometer, an instrument that measures light reflected at a fixed angle to the sample and can exclude gloss to most closely replicate how the human eye sees color. Using the color codes, I visited a website called ColorHexa which gave me the RGB values.

To ensure that this was scientifically correct, I calculated the RGB values and color codes using a spectrophoometer to discover the darkest and lightest hues.

Pi chart:                                                      Bar Graph:

Conclusion

Conclusion: If the SMELLRID Reusable Activated Carbon Vent Filter is used, then the results will be the best because this filter absorbs the most smoke particles. According to my data table, the test with this filter came out with no smoke residue and a clean paper towel. Comparatively, the test with no filter had a dark black stain on the paper towel and the test run with the alternative carbon filter had minimal smoke residue. Since the data is purely based on the color of the stain, the RGB values play a significant factor in determining the optimal and most accurate solution.  Based on my graphs, the trial with the SMELLRID filter had the highest RGB value of 223, 224, 219, compared to the trial with no filter, with the RGB value of 19,15,12, which means it had the lightest color. The results answer my original question and confirm that my hypothesis was correct.

Reflection: Using the results from this experiment I will apply it to my solution, by using the SMELLRID Reusable Activated Carbon Vent Filter as the filtering method to my nasal filter. I would say that my experiment was successful in determining the hypothesis. My findings support thee hyphothesis because the SMELLRID filter resulted in the best outcome according to the testing.

My results have inspired to think about how this solution could branch out and potentially be applied to people with allergies and vape pens.

About me

My name is Shobini Iyer I am from Bettendorf, Iowa. I am 13 years old and in Honors 8th Grade Science. Some of my interests are math and science. One of my biggest female role models is the physicist and chemist, Marie Curie. I would say that the thing that originally got me interested in Earth Science is traveling with my family. Traveling gave me insight on how prominent air pollution and second hand smoking is around the world, especially in second and third world countries. Three words to describe me are motivated, compassionate, and intelligent. For this science fair project, I wanted to find a solution to a problem that resonates with me. From my traveling, I have learned that pollution and smoking is a prominent issue in a lot of countries, especially third world countries. My goal for this science fair was to come up with a solution for this worldwide issue. 

To me, winning means being dedicated to a goal, and seeing through it until you reach the desired utcome. In my opinion, I have already "won" by creating an innovative science fair project out of what started off as just an image in my head. To me, I have already seen the fruits of my labor and "winning" is just a step up. Winning would change my life because it would help me get resources to pursue my passion and interests in the STEM field.

Health & Safety

I worked at home independantly. Because I was working with fire, it was important to stay safe! Some of the safety precautions I took were adult supervision, tied a cloth around my nose/mouth area, and avoided flammable materials such as hair, cloth, etc. I also kept a safe distance from the fire as well.

Bibliography, references, and acknowledgements

Bibliography (APA Format):

[N95 respirator mask]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.envirosafetyproducts.com/media/product/a7a/3mtm-8210-n95-particulate-respirator-box-of-20-c38.jpg

 

(n.d.). Retrieved from http://geraldbakker.nl/psnumbers/rgb-explained.html

 

#857e76 hex color. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.colorhexa.com/857e76

 

Activated Carbon (Charcoal) Filters. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mne.psu.edu/cimbala/me433/Lectures/Activated_Carbon_or_Charcoal_Filters.pdf

 

Contributors, H. (2018, March 08). What is activated charcoal and why is it used in filters? Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/question209.htm

 

Kapel, F. (n.d.). HTML Colors from Image. Retrieved from https://html-color-codes.info/colors-from-image/

 

Know what you're breathing: Toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke. (2018, February 08). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/secondhand-smoke/art-20043914

 

Libretexts. (2018, November 08). Spectrophotometry. Retrieved from https://chem.libretexts.org/Textbook_Maps/Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry_Textbook_Maps/Supplemental_Modules_(Physical_and_Theoretical_Chemistry)/Kinetics/Reaction_Rates/Experimental_Determination_of_Kinetcs/Spectrophotometry

 

Office on Smoking and Health (US). (1970, January 01). The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44324/

 

RGB color model. (2018, October 22). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RGB_color_model

 

Secondhand Smoke. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/secondhand smoke

 

Smoking & Tobacco Use. (2017, January 11). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/index.htm

 

Surgical Mask [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/414I5z9o0rL._SX425_.jpg

 

Aknowledgement: Mrs. Beausoleil, my eighth grade honors science teacher who guided me throughout the entire process and helped me order materials