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Future researchers pass with flying colours in project on “Critical Raw Materials”

Telemark University College was the scene when students from the third class, Chemistry 2 at Skien upper secondary school presented their bid in a difficult project. A jury from the industry sector and the University College judged the presentations and the students from Skien passed with flying colours!

”It was fun and interesting to take part and also to win”. From Left to right: Sara Kvasnes, Therese Røysted Solås and Gebriela Gundersen. Photo: Kristine Langerød, HiT

”It was fun and interesting to take part and also to win”. From Left to right: Sara Kvasnes, Therese Røysted Solås and Gebriela Gundersen. Photo: Kristine Langerød, HiT

Telemark University College held a series of events during the Research Week in week 39. The ”Industry and communication” event was aimed at students in the third class of upper secondary school with chemistry as a specialism. The project concerned ”Critical Raw materials” and financed by the European Union.

Lack of raw materials

The event was based on ’communication’, the theme of this year’s Research week. With this specific project, the arrangers wanted to draw attention to an issue of which many are unaware, lack of raw materials for everyday products. The raw materials and products the students were to investigated were:

  • Antimony in cars
  • Indium in TV screens
  • Magnesium in laptop computers
  • Neodymium in hearing aids
  • Tantalum in mobile phones

Results

The students were to investigate the properties of the elements, their function in the product, what they possibly could be replaced by, where the raw materials could be found and why there was a lack of them.

Thery were also to assess the environmental impact of extracting these elements and what the social and ethical considerations might be.

The students received the task some time in advance and had a total of eight minutes to present their findings to the jury in groups.

The jury comprised Sabine Tangenes from Yara, Laurant Vanoverberghe from the University College and Anne-Gry Jørgensen from Bergfald Miljørådgivere, an environmental advisory company.

Thorough understanding

”It was difficult to choose a winner because they had all worked really hard and showed a thorough understanding of the problem. They also demonstrated their presentation skills and used various media creatively,” emphasised jury member, Anne-Gry Jørgensen.

The winners were the group investigating tantalum in mobile phones. The group comprised Sara Kvasnes, Therese Røysed Solås, and Gabriela Gundersen. Well done, girls!

The event was a collaboration between Herøya Industrial Park AS and Telemark University College.

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