Our Chemistry students were recently introduced to the concept of passive solar design. Under the direction of instructor, Dr. Lawrence Misialek, the students were tasked with using their engineering design skills to create a passive solar collector, an approach that uses the sun's energy and the surrounding climate to provide natural heating and cooling.
"They were challenged to demonstrate the three ways in which heat energy can be transferred - conduction, convection and radiation," informed Dr. Misialek. "Their project was evaluated on how high above ambient temperature their collector's temperature would attain."
Misialek allowed his students to construct their own collectors that would use either water or air. "They they could make the project out of almost anything they wanted, but they had to collaborate and apply the aforementioned concepts they learned in Chemistry to the project design."
According to the website, teachengineering.org
, there is a widespread interest in passive solar design as energy costs continue to increase. On Wednesday, November 8th, the chemistry students gathered outside the school to test their collaborations and were given a set amount of time to "heat" their collectors.
The engineering challenge was conceived as an extension of Montini Catholic's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Initiative, a curriculum designed to meet the needs of students with an aptitude for science, technology, math and their application in the field of engineering. The initiative is part of Montini's policy and curriculum and was adopted to improve students' exposure to the field of engineering through activities and competitions inside and outside of the classroom.