What did you do when you were 16? Well, Kiara Nirghin out of Johannesburg, South Africa has created a new superabsorbent polymer that could help battle droughts. Ms. Nirghin just won Google Science Fair’s Community Impact Award for creating this superabsorbent polymer out of orange peels and avocados. The all natural polymer is able to hold one hundred times its own weight and could help communities water crops when droughts are extremely severe. South Africa is going through some tough drought times right now, which is what prompted Ms. Nirghin to seek out some sort of solution.
“Kiara found an ideal material that won’t hurt the budget in simple orange peel, and through her research, she created a way to turn it into soil-ready water storage with help from the avocado,” Andrea Cohan, Programme Leader of the Google Science Fair, told a CNN reporter.
Winning the award from Google also gets Ms. Nirghin a mentor from the Google Science Fair team who will help her continue her research of this superabsorbent polymer. Of course Google will also help in bringing the discovery to commercialised markets who may have need for such a thing. Hopefully the polymer is able to be developed and used at a low cost for those in South Africa where Ms. Nirghin is from.
It’s encouraging to see young people getting excited about science since this world will need more scientists to figure out ways to make this world better. Programs like the Google Science Fair are a great tool to get kids involved. What do you think of Ms. Nirghin’s discovery? Let us know your thoughts and comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You can also hit the Google Science Fair link below to read Ms. Nirghin’s entire report on her research and where things are going from here.