The national winners in the Chemistry category were Johannes Waller, 17, and Philipp Kessler, 17, from Baden-Württemberg. The two young researchers investigated Fehling’s solution, which is used to determine the presence of reducing sugars, for example. They were able to demonstrate in lab tests that the reaction is chemically more complex than described in textbooks.
Jugend forscht - Category Chemistry
Young researchers in the Chemistry category study organic and inorganic reactions or focus on analytic, synthetic, technical or physical chemistry. Their work ranges from simple tests conducted at home to more sophisticated experiments in schools or laboratories.
More Complex than Thought
Highlight Projects 2016
Red as Blood – Development of a Synthesis for Gemstones Based on Alpha Aluminum Oxide
Gemstone mining damages the environment and is often conducted under inhumane conditions. Because stones such as rubies and sapphires consist of a mixture of aluminum oxide and certain metals, they can theoretically be produced synthetically — and that’s what Christian Schärf, Paul Rathke, and Friedrich Wanierke decided to do. The trio conducted experiments with various smelting and crystallization techniques and then analyzed the synthesis process and the powder particles and crystals they had obtained as a result. In the course of their experiments, the researchers discovered that nature is an exceptionally good chemist. Although they succeeded in creating tiny ruby monocrystals, they also found out that producing big gemstones in a lab was harder than they had thought. Nevertheless, their efforts were impressive enough to earn them first prize in the Chemistry category.
Chemistry that Binds Substances that Are Harmful to the Environment
Filtering dyes out of wastewater is important for protecting human health and the environment, because many of these substances are toxic and carcinogenic. Felix Mende conducted numerous measurement series with porous metallic materials to determine how they bond with hazardous substances. His experiments demonstrably removed these substances from the wastewater, so he expanded his analyses to include trapped medications. He was also able to remove an antibiotic from wastewater. Mende believes that the cleaning substances he used, which are known as metal-organic frameworks, offer a promising solution for water purification systems. The fundamental research he conducted could be used in sewage treatment plants in the future and might even help to remove pesticides from wastewater. Mende’s experiment was granted the prize for Exceptional Research in 2016.