Science Alive is Australia’s largest science, technology and engineering event attracting people of all ages. This year, Dancing Particles was one of the displays showcased on behalf of The University of Adelaide. Dancing Particles is a project based on combustion testing of micro-sized particles. The project consists of understanding the principles and science of stable levitation of table tennis balls. It works by considering both the internal and external flow of a jet of air.
The opportunity gave the Mechanical Engineering students a chance to display their final year project to the general public. With around 20,000 people attending the expo, the platform gave them the chance to demonstrate key features of their project to various different age groups. The group found that in general, young children were attracted to the project and found it very interesting. At the same time, the group was able to go into detail about the technical side with parents. The interactive display gave the children the opportunity to levitate the balls themselves, and get them to experience the project first hand. It gave the children the opportunity to see the exciting side of science and the parents to see the opportunities available to the students of The University of Adelaide.
Executive Dean of the University’s Faculty of Sciences, Professor Bob Hill says that “Science is at the foundation of every aspect of our lives. It helps us understand the world we live in and drives new developments for our future”. This was the basis behind the Dancing Particles display; not only did it represent the physics behind the project but the final year project group were able to explain the future applications of such a project, as well as benefits of future research.