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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby SciB » Thu May 03, 2018 12:45 pm

Wow! Have fun! I hope your judging is early so that then you can relax and go look at other peoples' displays.

Just make sure you have an outline in your mind of the order of topics--introduction, hypothesis, methods, results, conclusions, discussion.

Did they give you a time for the presentation? I know it is flexible, but it depends on how many judges there are and how many talks they have to listen to. If you could cut it down to between 10 and 15 minutes it would be better. That way if one person asks a lot of questions, there is enough time to answer them all adequately.

We'll be waiting to hear how you did and what you learned about doing a good presentation.

When you do your next science project, be sure to let us know on Scibuddies. I"ll be looking forward to working with you again on something new.

Good luck and best wishes,

Sybee

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby Vlance » Thu May 03, 2018 1:23 pm

Hi Sybee,
I think I can get it down to 15 minutes. I was going to show this video of what is happening after the solution is put on. I wanted to know if you can see the oil contracting. The oil is white-ish. ImagePhytol Solution at Work on Oil by Daring Doo, on Flickr

Click on the giant picture to be brought to the video,
Vlance

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby SciB » Thu May 03, 2018 1:55 pm

Yes, I saw the line of oil moving away from the drop of phytol. It would be really cool if you could set up a demonstration of the oil contraction at your display but it would not be practical, i know. The video does show the phytol effect but be sure the judges know what to watch for.

Maybe you could find a short video on Youtube or Google that shows something similar only on a large oil spill. Showing crude oil congealing and contracting would be just the visual image the judges need to understand what you are aiming at.

Sybee

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby Vlance » Fri May 04, 2018 3:53 pm

Hi Sybee,
Today was the regional fair, and I got first place! Thank you for all your help throughout this project. States is on June 2nd so I've got some more time to perfect my lab report and speech.

-Vlance

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby SciB » Fri May 04, 2018 5:56 pm

YAAY!!

I knew you could do it. I wish I was there to see it.

Did you get any questions that you didn't expect or that you had trouble answering? You have over three weeks till the state competition so there's time to fine-tune your presentation and maybe even do some more experiments. I want to see you win the state competition and go on to the national. I'm sure your parents are really proud of you, as we are too!

I'll be here waiting for more questions...

Sybee

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby Vlance » Fri May 04, 2018 6:02 pm

Hi Sybee,
I actually did not encounter any questions I could not answer. I got some good advice and one of judges told me about a software called ImageJ (I think that is what is was called, I had a little trouble understanding what he said) that could tell me exactly the change in the cm of the diameter of the oil segments by putting paint in the oil and then taking pictures and having the computer analyze them. Sadly, I have no more of the solutions but I do have some picture so I don't know if that would help. Do you have any suggestions for things I should be working on for states?

-Vlance

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby SciB » Fri May 04, 2018 6:22 pm

Congratulations on being so well prepared!

I have used ImageJ (https://imagej.nih.gov/ij/) and that was a really good suggestion by one of the judges. The program is able to measure the area of an image as well as its brightness [or darkness]. I use it for measuring the intensity of chemiluminescent bands on a protein gel, which are much brighter than the surroundings. With your oil slicks, however, there's little contrast between the oil and the water. That's why the person suggested using paint or dye in the oil to make it show up better.

You could try altering the brightness, color or contrast of your images and see if you can make the oil slick stand out better, and then see if ImageJ will recognize it. If I remember right, the program may have an outline tool where you could use the cursor to 'draw' and outline around the oil slick area and get a measurement of the area that way. I'll look it up.

I can't think of anything right now that you can do to improve your presentation, but I will give it some thought. Did you show the video of the oil contracting? Were the judges able to see it ok? As I suggested before, you could show a video or some photos of actual oil spill cleanups using phytol. You can also point out the disadvantages of using chemical dispersants to break up the oil.

How about the timing of your talk. Was it long enough without being too long?

Sybee

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby Vlance » Wed May 16, 2018 2:43 pm

Hi Sybee,
I am sorry that it has been such a long time since I have replied to you. I have been working on my Broadcom application now and realized how much there is to do. I actually did not show the judges the video. I was able to enlarge one of my photos to make it easier to see. The judges seemed to be engaged and entertained throughout my whole speech, and they did not interrupt me. I was very happy because I was talking to an environmentalist when my last judge came so I had to adapt my speech for the judge to get all the information she needed in there and it went very well. The environmentalist had to leave half way through the speech but she was very happy with my project and said it was amazing right to the judge. I did not use note cards so I think that also helped me, although sometimes I would forget to mention certain details.

-Vlance

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby SciB » Wed May 16, 2018 6:03 pm

Wow! Congratulations on giving such a good presentation. I'm proud of you! Isn't it really great when you can share your scientific experiments with people who have the same goals in preserving and cleaning up our environment. Pay special attention to any questions or comments you get during the talk because that's feedback that clues you into areas that you might emphasize or explain more.

The more you do talks and presentations, the better you will be at them. You just have to keep your awareness of your listeners' attention and try to get them to interact. Asking them a question is a simple way to engage and get their curiosity juices flowing. Use published information, too--like how much oil has been spilled since the start of the millennium and how much is simply stored in aging tankers waiting to be used--or to leak out (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asia ... SKBN19709N).

It is great that you were able to talk without reciting a speech. That is by far the best way to keep people interested. As I said before, you can use the visuals on your poster board as prompts for the subjects you want to talk about. And don't worry about forgetting to mention something--we all do that!

In one of your previous posts you said that someone suggested using ImageJ to measure the area of your oil slick before and after application of phytol. That is really a great idea and would add a lot to the quantitative aspect of your project. The judges would love it that you used a professional tool like ImageJ to get exact measurements of the clean-up. All you need are the photos you took before and after phytol. Watch some of the videos on how to use ImageJ until you get more familiar with the tools, then try it. I will help.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask us. Be very careful with your facts and be prepared to back up your statements with references and supporting data from other sources. Make a list of references that you used as sources with a brief summary of the important findings in each one.

I know you will do really well. I just want you to be the best of the best!

Sybee

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby Vlance » Fri May 25, 2018 2:48 pm

Hi Sybee,
I have just gotten back from my school DC trip. Although it was an amazing time, it came at a bit of an inconvenient time for the science fair.

I am going to try to use Image J so that I can talk about it and know how it could be worked in the future to better measure the oil segments.

My teacher just emailed my judges comments, and I wanted your take on them.

1. Good project, but quantitative method could be improved.
2. Good ingenuity in trying to get phytol from chloropyll liquid and reaching out to local high school for use of lab space for safety. Great work on experiments and interesting approach to biodegradability with measuring impact on ocean life. Excellent not taking.
3. Excellent!

My teacher said for Judge 1 I just need to explain more in depth about what I did for the project, but I wanted to get your take on it too. I also got more confident as the judges went on so I possibly didn't give as much detail to the first one as I did the others.

-Vlance

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby SciB » Sat May 26, 2018 5:59 pm

Hi Vlance,

The judges' comments look great! Especially the ones that say EXCELLENT!

My understanding of the first judge's comment focuses on the key word 'quantitative'. Scientists have to measure the parameters they are studying in order to 'quantitate' them--turn them into numerical values. That's how we test measurements statistically.

OK. What I mean is that this judge probably has science training and was suggesting that you need to measure the oil slicks before and after phytol treatment in order to be able to compare them statistically. And that is where ImageJ comes in. That software will let you calculate the area of the oil slicks using a photo file, like a jpeg or tif. If you didn't take photos of each experiment then you can't do the quantitation, but at least you can explain how you would do it in the future.

I still think you could have extracted phytol from grocery store spinach. There are a number of methods online for extracting chlorophyll from spinach leaves and the next step would be heating it with acid to cleave off the phytol. I guess i'm kind of a stubborn person when it comes to an experiment. If I expect something to work then I keep hammering at it until I succeed (or give up).

OK. I think you are ready for the big time. By now you understand the chemistry and procedures and reasons for your experiments and how they relate to your hypothesis. Just be sure the judges understand WHY phytol works as it does on oil--it is a molecule that has both a water-loving (hydrophilic) and an oil-loving (lipophilic) part, and the two parts work together to cause the oil slick on water to draw together and congeal.

One thing I forgot. Did you try the oil slick experiment on salt water at the same concentration of sodium chloride as in sea water? This would be one more way of demonstrating that the phytol method would work in the real world where oil spills commonly occur in salt water more often than fresh water.

If you have any questions or want me to read some part of your report and make comments, post it here.

Good luck! We have hit a grand total of 100 replies and counting which is pretty amazing for one thread. Congratulations on sticking it out and working through all the problems. That's the way a scientist operates. I shall miss our conversation and you must promise that next year you will be back with a new project for us to guide you through!

Sybee

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby Vlance » Mon May 28, 2018 7:20 pm

Hi Sybee,
I tried to use Image J but sadly my computer could not process it and it could not open. I have tried downloading it many times and tried opening it and restarting but my computer doesn't seem to be able to process the software. Do you think the judges will understand because of my limited resources with my computer? I would talk about how I would have intended to use the software at states this weekend.

I did the phytol experiment on salt water I collected from the ocean so it shows the phytol solution does work on the real ocean.

I am hoping next year to do another science fair project with my older sister.

-Vlance

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby SciB » Mon May 28, 2018 7:55 pm

Hi,

It would have been great if you could use ImageJ. If you have a friend with a laptop running Win8.1 or Win10 and with at least 6 GB of RAM it will work. Is this the URL where you got the download? https://imagej.nih.gov/ij/download.html

Did you download the Platform-Independent version? Do you have the latest Java update on your PC? Are you running Windows or MacOS? ImageJ should work with either, but I'm a Windows person so am most familiar with that.

You can explain to the judges that you intended to quantitate your results using ImageJ, but it would be so much better for them to SEE the analysis.

Don't you know any computer geeks that would be willing to help you? The software is designed to work on a large variety of different platforms, so you should have been able to install and open it on your machine.

I'm glad to hear that your experiments worked in salt water as well as fresh water. That is a necessary bit of information for the judges.

If you have more questions this week, keep posting and I will watch the forum for them.

Good luck!

Sybee

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby Vlance » Tue May 29, 2018 4:11 pm

Hi Sybee,
I selected the wrong link to download but now I have got it working. I am a little confused about how to measure the diameter of the oil spill segments in the photos in centimeters. I think that I need to add a plugin but I'm not sure which one I should choose. I might not need to plugin, but how do I convert pixels to centimeters? I tried to set a scale so I could convert pixels to centimeters but I needed a microscope feature and I didn't have that. I'm hoping you can hep me, I've looked things up online but I'm stumped.

-Vlance

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Re: Science Fair Project: Cleaning Up Oil Spills

Postby SciB » Tue May 29, 2018 7:06 pm

Hi Vlance,

I'm glad you got the program working. I had a feeling it was something simple like downloading the wrong platform version.

Now one thing you need to be clear on. You are not measuring the 'diameter' of the oil slick with ImageJ, you are measuring the area. If you say diameter, you will confuse the judges.

OK. So, how do you convert pixels to centimeters. I have not done this before because I just used the pixel values directly for comparison, but for you it is better to express the areas in square centimeters. Here is the instructions for how to do that from the ImageJ user guide:
https://imagej.nih.gov/ij/docs/guide/146-30.html
https://imagej.net/SpatialCalibration

30.8 Set Scale…

Use this dialog to define the spatial scale of the active image so measurement results can be presented in calibrated units, such as mm or μm. Before using this command, use the straight line selection tool to make a line selection that corresponds to a known distance. Then, bring up the Set Scale…↑ dialog, enter the Known Distance and unit of measurement, then click ‘OK’. The Distance in Pixels field will be automatically filled in based on the length of the line selection.

This sounds pretty simple. Once you find the Set Scale dialog box, just make a line of known distance then enter the dimension (pick a length, i guess) and unit (cm) and the program converts the pixels to centimeters, or square pixels to square centimeters. I think i see the problem. What the guide does not tell you is that you need an image with a scale that you can use to draw the line. You need a way of knowing the length of the line you draw relative to the image that you want to measure. I think what you will have to do is draw a line of known length in cm, photograph it at the same distance and position that you used for the oil slicks and then use the line tool to make a line of known length along the cm scale that you created. The program knows how many pixels long the line you drew is and will convert pixels to cm.

One possible problem i foresee is that you did not have the camera in exactly the same place relative to the oil slick each time. If the camera was closer, the image will be larger. The camera should have been mounted on a tripod and fixed in position relative to the oil slick so the distance was identical in each case.

Let me know if you have any trouble with this and I'll try to help.

Sybee


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