2017 Education Competition: Uncover Copper
The 2017 Uncover Copper Competition attracted over 600 entries from 67 schools across the UK. The winning entries are showcased below.
Copper surrounds us. It’s in our phones and tablets, the walls of our houses, our hospitals and even inside our bodies, but we rarely notice it. This competition called on UK students to uncover copper, seeking it out in buildings, health and medicine, and new applications in renewable energy and sustainable transport systems.
Participants chose one of the three categories and designed a poster that answered the questions, exploring the red metal’s applications and the chemical, physical and mechanical properties behind its use.
- Building Services: Where is copper used in our homes and schools? Think wiring and home automation, plumbing and sprinkler systems. Which properties of copper make it uniquely suited to these applications?
- Health and Medicine: How is copper used in our bodies and in healthcare? Think dietary needs, hygienic touch surfaces and MRI machines. Why is copper essential for our health?
- Renewable Energy and Transport: What contribution is copper making to a greener future? Think wind turbines, photovoltaics, solar thermal, wave and tidal. Think electric vehicles. What properties of copper make it beneficial in these applications?
Amy Lawrie, St Edmund’s School
The judges awarded this poster First Place thanks to its detailed explanation of the chemistry of how copper’s surface changes naturally when used in external locations—for buildings and sculptures—thanks to chemical reactions with the atmosphere, and how these changes can be accelerated by the application of chemical solutions to achieve different colours. It is attractive, easy to read and informative.
Lily Payton, Eaton Bank Academy
The judges chose this poster for Second Place due to its energetic and appealing presentation of information on copper’s significance as pipework, its contribution to automation in buildings and its use in roofing applications and heating systems. It contains good, well-presented science.
Evie Jackaman, St Edmund’s School
This poster was Highly Commended as the judges were impressed by the careful and creative presentation and good selection of copper’s use in different areas of homes and schools. The heading in particular is superbly executed to draw a viewer into reading the details below.
Shalini Subbiah, St Paul’s Girls’ School
This poster was awarded First Place thanks to the in-depth science explaining copper’s essentiality and use across different fields of health and medicine, most interestingly in MRI machines. It further introduced applications beyond those suggested in the competition guidelines, exploring applications such as copper’s use in IUDs. It was elegantly presented and fun to read.
Isra Parwez, Badminton School
This poster was chosen for Second Place thanks to its clear and striking illustration of copper’s myriad uses in health and medicine. The well thought-out presentation excellently complemented some very good science, in particular its elucidation of how copper kills bacteria.
Genevieve Cooper, St Edmund’s School
The judges awarded this poster Highly Commended thanks to its eye-catching and original design, and content that effectively covers the brief. The inclusion of some humorous elements also makes it a pleasure to read.
Aston Merry, Cambridge Home School
This poster’s appealing, comic book-style presentation frames a thought-provoking story imagining what life will be like if our existing dependence on carbon-based technologies is not replaced with renewable alternatives, in which copper plays key roles. The work goes beyond classroom science to consider impacts on future society. It is fun to read, and an all-round impressive exploration of the topic.
Scarlett Raffellini, Chesham Grammar School
This poster was chosen for Second Place thanks to its clear and concise presentation of copper’s multifaceted uses in renewable energy and transport. It contains excellent scientific information and expresses it in an engaging style.
Daniel Cassidy and Theo Back, Cranmore School
This poster was awarded Highly Commended due to its well-presented information, covering the applications of copper in renewable energy and transport, and the science behind these applications. The judges enjoyed the headings made from ‘etched’ copper, which lent it a particularly pleasing appearance.
Sarah Stephen, Newstead Wood School
The judges awarded this poster First Place thanks to its clever framing device—an acrostic based on the word COPPER—and the good understanding of the science behind copper’s use in building services that it demonstrates. Its attractive use of graphics is likely to draw viewers in and make them want to read more.
Redmond Coleman, Exeter School
The judges chose this poster for Second Place due to its good scientific basis, explaining how the properties of copper account for its wide use in roofing, and why it develops different colours in different environments.
Abigail McCann, The Sandon School
This poster was Highly Commended thanks to its eye-catching design, which encourages viewers to read its interesting information on the applications of copper in building services. It covered the brief effectively with added design flair that set it apart from other entries.
Rachel Barham, Portsmouth High School
This poster received First Place thanks to its neat layout and broad-ranging exploration of health and medicine, which demonstrates good scientific understanding of copper’s contributions. The strong use of graphics makes it easy to read, drawing in viewers and encouraging them to find out more about copper.
Tara Hayes-Pankhurst, Exeter School
This poster was awarded Second Place thanks to its thoughtful layout, with colour used to help contextualise the information presented, and illustrations that add to its overall appeal.
Chandan Sekhon, Wood Green Academy
The judges selected this poster for the Highly Commended position thanks to its vibrant and engaging presentation of copper information, with a focus on its role in human health.
Leah Eade, The Sandon School
The judges awarded this poster First Place as it contains detailed scientific information on copper’s role within renewable technologies and transportation. It is well laid out, providing just enough text to explain the science without becoming a burden on the reader, remaining enjoyable and interesting throughout.
Arushi Kulshreshtha, King Edward VI High School for Girls
This poster was given Second Place thanks to its strong science and attractive presentation. The judges were impressed by the inclusion of up-to-date information on electric vehicle developments, and also noted the excellent use of colour and overall design.
Michelle Li, King Edward VI High School for Girls
This poster was Highly Commended due to the wide range of copper uses it covers within the fields of renewable energy and transport. Its heading is eye-catching, and the illustration of a wind turbine is an appealing inclusion.