Tennyson Middle student qualifies for state science fair

Tennyson Middle student qualifies for state science fair
Posted on 03/22/2012
Tennyson Middle seventh-grade student Will McDonough qualified for the state science fair.

Tennyson Middle student finds a unique use for duct tape

by Mary Senter

Tennyson Middle student Will McDonough had a question. He wanted to know if a bullet-proof vest could be made out of duct tape.  After all, you can make just about anything out of duct tape, right? 

His idea developed into a hypothesis and led him to the annual Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair (CTSEF), held at Texas State Technical College in February.

After rolling out yard after yard of gray duct tape—four pounds to be exact, the seventh-grader’s duct-tape vest equaled the weight of a real bullet-proof vest.  And then the young scientist and avid sportsman put the vest under the gun, no pun intended, to see what kind of pressure it could withstand. 

Using various types of ammunition to test his invention, Will made a discovery about the penetrability of duct tape. 

“His vest only stopped small rifle bullets, but the majority of ammunition went through the vest,” said his science teacher, John Stanley.

To test his vest, he used rifles instead of handguns, Stanley said. He added that next time Will hopes to test the vest using handguns as well.

While the duct-tape vest may have only stopped the smallest of bullets, this young scientist is on to something.  He is also on his way to compete in the state science fair later this month. As a third-place winner in his division at the regional science fair, Will earned a trip to San Antonio where his project will compete against others from across the state.

The CTSEF is held each spring for students in grades six- through 12 from dozens of school districts throughout Central Texas. The fair is designed to spark an interest in science and engineering by encouraging and inspiring students to explore and investigate their world through hands-on research. The event, officially started in 1957, is governed by a board of unpaid trustees who work in close cooperation with officials from Baylor University and TSTC.

And by successfully applying the scientific method, this seventh-grade student has indeed proven that you can make just about anything out of duct tape.