Alice Zhao, a senior at Sheboygan North High School, was among the 40 finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search 2010 with her research project titled, "Meet the Heating Challenge in Dynamic Spraying of Nano Particles."
The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is America's most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors (also nicknamed the Youth Nobel Prize). Since 1942, first in partnership with Westinghouse and beginning in 1998 with Intel, SSP has provided a national stage for America's best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists.
Zhao, 16, started her research almost a year ago at a research lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Under the supervision of Professor Jen at UWM and strong support from Ms. Mary Searing, (North Science department chairperson), Ms. Hella Willis (North physics teacher) and Mr. Lee Kotyza (North guidance counselor), she overcame many obstacles to reach this point.
Zhao's research abstract was: Gas dynamic spraying of nano particles (with diameters between 1 and 100 nm) is a direct fabrication technique for nanostructured coatings and bulk materials involving the deposition or the compaction of nanoparticles to form coatings or bulk parts without coarsening the nanoscale structure. Providing high pressure (250 psi) and high temperature (1200F) carrying gas for the nano particles is a key part during that process. In this research, an innovative method to heat the carrying gas by electromagnetic induction was studied, heating coil and induction coil were designed and manufactured, and the portable heating assembly was built to provide stable supply of carrying gas at required temperature and pressure for successful nanoparticles dynamic spraying test. This research has met the heating challenge in dynamic spraying of nano particles.
Zhao showed curiosity in science at an early stage. When in second grade, she won a third place award in the National "Invent America" competition. Zhao has been admitted to the California Institute of Technology and will pursue a career in engineering and science.