Students create a tool that turns cigarette smoke into oxygen
Paper Edition | Page: 5
Bright ideas might come anytime, anywhere. After taking a closer look at some smoking rooms provided in public areas in Central Java’s Semarang, Hermawan Maulana, 16, and Zihrama Afdi, 17, high school students of SMA 3 Semarang, had an idea to create an application that can turn the poisonous cigarette smoke into oxygen.
They said that the people who designed the current smoking rooms most likely did not pay attention to how to keep the air in the room circulating.
“A smoking room will be filled with smoke if it is continually designed like that. And people might be reluctant to smoke in such a room. The situation might be different if the circulation of air was better,” said Afdi. A room filled with smoke is unhealthy for the smokers too.
And voila, they created an application called T-Box, or Thunder Box, to reduce the dangerous effects of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the smoking room by turning the two carbons into oxygen (O2).
Their efforts have earned them gold medals at the 2012 International Exhibition for Young Inventors (IEYI) held recently in Bangkok, Thailand.
In the competition, they beat 205 participants from eight countries — Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Taiwan.
Hermawan and Afdi began working on their idea from June 2011.
Hermawan said that they only needed simple components like transformers, absorbing fans, printed circuit boards (PCB), steel nails and a hand-made power supply. All of the components cost Rp 200,000 (US$21).
They later made a simulation by using a smoking room and two boxes containing their applications.
So, how does the application work? Well first of all, the smoke is absorbed into the first T-box by the absorber fans, comprising a number of components that are able to
conduct an electrical current of 2,000 volts.
“The high voltage is called plasma, which will produce ozone. When the CO2 gets into the box, ozone will react with the CO2, bind oxygen molecules and create new compounds: ozone and oxygen,” said Hermawan.
After a string of electrical processes, the result in the first T-box will get into the filter room and will be absorbed by T-box number two, said Hermawan.
A similar process also occurs in the second T-box, producing oxygen that is released back to the smoking room.
Istabudi, a chemistry lecturer at Diponegoro University in Semarang, explained that the working process used by Hermawan and Afdi was called plasma technology.
It works by separating the chemical bond between carbon and oxide through high voltage electrons. The 2,000 volts is able to “cut” the bond between them.
He said that plasma technology was usually used to kill germs, create ozone from the air and turn cigarette smoke into oxygen.
Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.