Young scientists’ pipe dream might be a patented success

Success in this year’s Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in the RDS in Dublin has led to further opportunities for three Kilkenny College students.

Success in this year’s Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in the RDS in Dublin has led to further opportunities for three Kilkenny College students.

Students Matt Murtagh, Andy Jeffers and Jamie Kerr, under the supervision of co-ordinating teacher John Poyntz, entered a project in this year’s exhibition and received two awards for their efforts. They received a highly commended award and an award for the best display in the technology category.

The students designed a “Smart Pipe,” an automated water-circulation anti-freezing system. The project was inspired by the extremely harsh winter encountered by Ireland last year, and was designed to prevent people from leaving taps running when not at home, in order to prevent the water from freezing in the pipes.

Through a combination of physics and technology, they designed and built a scale model of a system that could be installed in a domestic water system to mimic the effect of running water even though the taps were not left on. The topic received a lot of media attention and the students gave interviews for several radio stations including KCLR 96FM, RTÉ 2FM and Beat FM.

As a result of their success, they have now been invited to participate in the BT Young Scientists and Technology Business Programme, an invitation-only, residential event that takes place from March 26-29. This is the third such programme to be conducted by BT since its initiation in 2010. It allows 30 intermediate and senior students from the competition to experience first-hand the world of technology, commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

The three Kilkenny College students have already sought advice on the issuing of a patent on their project, so who knows what it might lead to for them in the future?