ACOM science fair

Slocomb eighth-grader Ariana Seay stands next to her hamster-powered science exhibit during the ACOM science fair at the National Peanut Festival fairgrounds on Thursday.

When Ariana Seay, a Slocomb Middle School eighth-grader, was considering what to do for the annual Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine science fair, she enlisted the help of her friend, a tiny Witte Molen hamster named Titan.

Seay and her science-fair partner, Ralphie Goodwin, considered how they could use Titan’s natural pastime, running on his hamster wheel, to good use.

“Basically, Titan just runs on this wheel and he turns the turbine and the turbine sends electricity through these wires to an LED light,” Seay said, pointing to the two wires through which positive and negative currents flowed to power two colored LED bulbs.

They started off their project using Titan’s wheel as a turbine, a machine for producing continuous power, and Titan as the natural source of energy to make it revolve. They wondered if Titan could produce enough energy to light up a 12-volt car light, but soon learned that the generator could only produce 3 volts, so they altered their experiment and used a low-energy LED light instead.

During their project, they determined that it took Titan 15 seconds of continuous running to produce 3.51 volts of electricity — enough to light up one of the LED lights.

They also learned that Titan was aptly named after a word from Greek mythology that means “powerful.”

Their project, titled “Titan’s Power Co.,” illustrated how using the scientific method allowed them to adjust their experiment to prove their hypothesis.

It won second place in the middle school’s engineering/computer science/mathematics category.

Another project by a pair of Dothan High School students was a result of a passion for medical field.

Bella Antone and Eden Grace, both sophomores, wanted to find out which pill coating for a brand-name, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication would dissolve quicker — a soft, liquid-gel pill or a film-coated, pressed-powder pill?

For their experiment, they put both pills into a flask of hydrochloric acid — resembling stomach acid — and timed the rate at which the pills were fully dissolved.

In all three trials, the gel liquid Advil dissolved in less than half the time of the harder pill.

“We hope our research goes toward making effective pain medication that metabolizes faster in the body,” Antone said. “They should probably make more medicines with gel coating because it would deliver the medicine quicker and it would be more fast-acting.”

The girls won first place in the medicine and health sciences category and are advancing to the regional level.

The annual science fair, called “Drop the Base,” was sponsored by the Southeast Health Foundation and involved fourth- through 12th-grade stu- dents from many Wiregrass schools.

Other first-place winners were:

» Dothan High School, “Does the Presence of Earthworms Increase the Length (in Centimeters) of Pea Plants?”

» Dothan Preparatory Academy, “Avoid the Shock.”

» Dothan Preparatory Academy, “Catapult Launches.”

» Slocomb Middle School, “How Do Various Liquids and Objects have Different Densities?”

» Carver School of Math, Science and Technology, “Understanding Lactose Intolerance.”

» Highlands Elementary, “Stealthy Shapes.”

» Dothan Preparatory Academy, “Salt Water Fuel.”

» Kelly Springs Elementary, “Lead Levels in Source Drinking Water.”

» Dothan Preparatory Academy, “Spread Joy, Not Germs.”

» Dothan Preparatory Academy, “Stay Focused.”

» Dothan Preparatory Academy, “Planaria Regeneration With Varying Levels of Magnetism.”

» Slocomb Elementary, “Bubbleology.”

» Heard Elementary, “Downforce.”

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