Student team named Google Science fair finalists

Karl Westendorff, Michael Carter, and Kenny Hoang will learn August 11 if they are one of 16 global finalists to be invited to Google headquarters.

Rising seniors Michael Carter, Karl Westendorff, and Kenny Hoang have been named one of 100 Google Science Fair regional finalists, chosen from thousands of entrants. The students’ project, Creation of a Composite Polymer-Activated Charcoal Radiation Shield for Use in Spacecraft, aims to create a loaded charcoal/polymer composite radiation shield, primarily for use in spacecraft. Working with science instructor Myra Halpin, the students conducted multiple testing sets to optimize the production of charcoal and the loading of charcoal with radiation shielding elements (aluminum, boron, lead).

“Once the optimal loaded charcoal creation methods were found, loaded charcoal was produced and put into polymer film. The composite was then tested with a radiation source to determine its radiation shielding ability,” they write in the project description. The team took second place in the engineering division of the North Carolina Science Fair for their project. 

The Google Science Fair is a global online science and engineering competition open to individuals and teams aged 13 to 18. On August 11, the students will learn if they are one of 16 global finalists who will gather at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA, for an awards ceremony.

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