Junior travels to Boston for the American Jr Academy of Sciences

SEA Junior travels to Boston to showcase his research at the American Junior Academy of Sciences (AJAS) national event. Matthew, a junior at the John Jay Science and Engineering Academy, is one of two SEA students who qualified last spring at the Texas Junior Academy of Sciences competition at Texas A&M University. Matthew earned the right to attend the AJAS event by placing first in his category of environmental projects with his project, Levels of Carbon Monoxide Emission by Aging Cars, Year 2. Matthew will present his findings, meet numerous distinguished scientists, and engage in special programs along with a few dozen other of the best high school students from around the country on Thursday, February 14 through Saturday, February 16

The AJAS event always coincides with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual convention. AAAS is the world’s largest general science organization and publisher of the journal Science. The AAAS convention typically takes place in February and the Texas Junior Academy of Sciences competition is not held until early April necessitating a considerable time lapse between the state and national events. The other SEA student to win a first place ribbon, Sharjeel, graduated in 2012 and attends Dartmouth College and will likely be unable to attend AJAS this year as he works hard to maintain his “straight A” average.

The abstract of Matthew’s award winning project is included below:

Three hypotheses were tested in this experiment: H1) Vehicles will emit an amount of carbon monoxide over a period of time that is exponentially proportional. H2) Vehicles that have a higher mileage will emit a larger amount of carbon monoxide. H3) The amount of carbon monoxide emitted by motor vehicles will decrease significantly over a 10 minute period.

Three hypotheses were tested in this experiment: H1) Vehicles will emit an amount of carbon monoxide over a period of time that is exponentially proportional. H2) Vehicles that have a higher mileage will emit a larger amount of carbon monoxide. H3) The amount of carbon monoxide emitted by motor vehicles will decrease significantly over a 10 minute period.

Vehicles of different model years were selected for testing in this experiment. Each vehicle was in the parked position with the brakes on within an outdoor space and parking lot which had a constantly flow of fresh air. Each vehicle was tested one by one for the amount of carbon monoxide emitted over a period of time. Before the vehicle was started, the Portable Combustion Analyzer was placed into the tailpipe, with the student researcher keeping the face a distance away from the tailpipe. Each was tested as soon as the engine was started. The reading of carbon monoxide emitted over a specific period of time at minute intervals along with the make, model year, and mileage of the car was then recorded in a table. The amount of carbon monoxide emitted by each vehicle was graphed individually and all together. A trend line was created on each individual vehicle graph to determine the type of trend. The average amount of carbon monoxide emitted by the vehicles for every minute was calculated and graphed. A Student’s t-test was performed comparing the amount of carbon monoxide emitted by vehicles in one minute to ten minutes. The mileage driven of each vehicle was compared to the amount of carbon monoxide emitted in a scatter plot and table.

The amount of carbon monoxide emitted by 7 out of the 8 motor vehicles followed a polynomial trend. The average amount of carbon monoxide emitted by these vehicles followed a logarithmic trend. The R2 value for the Mileage of Vehicles on Amount of Carbon Monoxide Emitted was 0.1237. The average amount of carbon monoxide emitted after one minute of the vehicles running was 6431.0 PPM. The average amount of carbon monoxide emitted after ten minutes of the vehicles running was 4426.875 PPM. The P(T<=t) two-tail value for the t-test was 0.0404. Analysis of the data reveals that Hypothesis 1 can be rejected because almost all of the motor vehicles emitted amounts of carbon monoxide that followed a polynomial regression, not an exponential trend. Analysis of the data reveals that Hypothesis 2 can be rejected because the although there was a positive correlation of the mileage of a vehicle on the amount of carbon monoxide emitted, it was not a strong correlation as the R2 was .1237 which is not a strong fit.  Analysis of the data reveals that Hypothesis 3 can be accepted because not only did the average amount of carbon monoxide emitted decrease by 2004.125 PPM, but also the P(T<=t) two-tail value was less than .05 which shows that the values support the hypothesis significantly.