You may not think that a 40 ton pneumatic shop press has much to teach students about trash, but you'd be amazed at the impact it makes when they get the chance to take a pile of standard trash and essentially flatten it.
Of course, "The Persuader," as some officials and team members here at Discovery's Young Scientist Challenge have wryly dubbed the machine makes short work of the trash. Condensing it in a fashion that amazes even me. Ever seen a quarter turned paper-thin by it's gaping jaws? I certainly have, and it's very cool...
The real problem they're trying to get kids to grapple with is the gobs of excess of trash in America. Helping them recognize the need for recycling as much as possible while condensing the rest in the most effective way possible to maximize the space available in landfills in the process.
Ultimately, the kids get the chance to measure the density of the trash both before and after it meets "The Persuader," making predictions and hypothesis along the way about it's subsequent effect on the space available in landfills.
And soon enough one of them is going to be laying claim to the title of America's Next Top Young Scientist, and a piece of the $100K in prizes and scholarships to be had. Though to be completely fair, I think any one of them I've seen in action today could make the grade.
Via:: Live at Discovery's Young Scientist Challenge!