JUNIOR RESERVE CHAMPION
8th-grader studies air over ice BY ENELLY BETANCOURT, Staff Writer
It's not just the outdoor air quality that needs protecting -- air quality at indoor ice rinks needs it, too.
That's what Lily Delle-Levine, an eighth-grader at Lancaster Country Day School, showed Wednesday at the North Museum Science & Engineering Fair.
Her research, titled "Measuring Indoor Air Quality: Do Enclosed Skating Rinks Have Elevated Levels of CO and NO2?," earned her the junior reserve champion trophy.
"My friends kept telling me I would win ... but I didn't expect it at all. This is a big honor," Lily said.
Lily, 12, also was the winner of several auxiliary awards, including the Broadcom Masters, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, Kauffman Physical Therapy and the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists.
In her experiment, Lily took 12 samples at seven indoor ice rinks in Pennsylvania and investigated air quality by measuring levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide in various ways -- outside the ice rinks, before ice resurfacing, immediately after ice resurfacing and 20 minutes after the ice had been resurfaced.
Samples are taken at center ice or the perimeter of the ice surface.
A figure skater for more than six years, Lily said she got her idea for the project from an article she read in the National Skating Magazine about air quality.
"I wanted to prove that if the fuel used to power ice resurfacing equipment varies, then the levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide will definitely vary," she said.
Most ice resurfacers -- vehicles or hand-pushed devices used to clean and smooth the surface of an ice sheet -- run on natural gas, propane or electric power, or less commonly on gasoline.
According to Lily's research, the combustion of propane as fuel for ice resurfacing in enclosed ice rinks results in elevated levels of both carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and it happens at a considerably higher level than found outdoors.
It has been noted in "Occupational and Environmental Medicine" that indoor ice-resurfacing can subject people to negative health effects resulting from the release of pollutants.
The young scientist was quick to offer a word of advice.
"They should take this into consideration and install proper ventilation systems in the rinks so there is enough fresh air coming in," Lily said.
"My friends kept telling me I would win ... but I didn't expect it at all. This is a big honor."
Lancaster Country Day School