Questions must be directed toward the rules. We cannot pre-judge your device by answering questions on whether it complies.
- Earth/Space Science
- 03/11/2013 - 21:50 Can a team use programs on the computer for computational problems (solutions)?
Yes. It does not matter if a computational program is on a hand-held calculator or on a computer.
- 11/04/2012 - 20:59 The first sentence of this paragraph mentions the allowance of a lap-top computer. Is a tablet-device acceptable as well?
Yes-tablets are permitted.
- Dynamic Planet - Div C
- 01/29/2013 - 22:27 What are the answers for the page 42-49 " Identifying Glacial Features on a TopographicMap" of SOSI.pps presentation in the Bio/Earth CD?
Answers may be found on the website www.markvanhecke.net There you will find a revised version of the SOSI Dynamic Planet PPT that includes the answers right on the slides.
- Rocks and Minerals - Div C
- Remote Sensing
- Experimental Design - Div C
- 11/14/2012 - 17:47 Are students expected to complete the entire experiment, including all data and all trials, and not make up or extrapolate data for points they do not have time to take?
Yes, students are expected to complete the entire experiment, including all data and all trials, and not make up or extrapolate data for points they do not have time to take. Par 4 "Any student not addressing the assigned question or topic area will be ranked behind those who do, because not conducting an experiment is a violation of the spirit of the event."
- Fermi Questions
- Technical Problem Solving
- Write It Do It - Div C
- Life/Personal/Social Science
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Disease Detectives - Div C
- Forestry - Div C
- 03/23/2013 - 18:34 Are we allowed to put the two 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of paper in sheet protectors?
Yes, the two 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of paper may be in sheet protectors. Remember that you may only have 2 pieces of paper.
- 11/25/2012 - 21:39 Does one of the 2 sheets include the national list or not?
Yes, if the team chooses to include the National Tree List or any parts of the list in their notes, it must be included in the two 8.5" x 11" two-sided pages of information. This is a new rule for this year.
- Designer Genes
- Water Quality - Div C
- 03/23/2013 - 18:57 What will be done to oversized hydrometers? Will they be given another container in which they can use?
Some accommodations will be provided for variations, but there is a limit to what constitutes a reasonable accommodation.
- 05/05/2013 - 20:05 For the salinometer, are we allowed to use a commercial volt / ohm meter NOT used for measuring salinity, then reconfiguring it to do so? Would this be considered a commercial device?
Yes you can use a commercial device as long as you incorporate it into your overall design.
- 03/23/2013 - 18:58 May students bring in their own beaker or graduated cylinder to test their salinometer/hydrometer.
No, they should use the graduated cylinder provided for the competition unless they can make a reasonable demonstration that a different container is needed.
- 03/11/2013 - 22:31 What volume of water should each group be given for the salinity test?
A reasonable amount of water to expect would be 400mls to 800mls but this will be up to the local Event Supervisor.
- 03/23/2013 - 19:03 Can a pre-built voltage meter be used as part of the salinometer, as long as it was not previously part of a commercial salinometr/hydrometer?
Yes, a voltmeter could be used as the required hydrometer. There is nothing in the event description that would preclude such an approach (use of electronic instrumentation). The competitor should be prepared to explain where the various parts come from and demonstrate that the student's device is not from a commercial device for measuring water quality.
- 03/23/2013 - 19:08 Would using a multimeter be considered as "commercially made meters" for salinometer?
There are commercial devices that can measure several parameters (pH, temperature, conductivity - which can be interpolated as far as salinity) that could be called a "multimeter" and would not be permissible. If "multimeter" means something else, like a generic electronic device, then it may be incorporated into the student built device. Students should be prepared to explain their devices.
- Physical Science/Chemistry
- Circuit Lab
- 11/04/2012 - 21:25 While the rules do not specifically prohibit this, are calculator programs that are able to solve (simplify, etc.) circuits allowed?
Yes, the rules explicitly allow any calculator, which also includes any program running on any calculator.
- 01/29/2013 - 22:08 Are students allowed to bring a calculator?
Yes. General rule #2 applies: http://soinc.org/ethics_rules
- 01/29/2013 - 22:14 Is there a max or min on the diameter of the propellors if they are not ducted?
The max diameter is limited by the max allowed height of the vehicle (20cm)see rule 3.b.line 2.
- 01/29/2013 - 22:40 Is this to be interpreted as multiple motors can use multiple 9V sources ( ex 2 motors with 2 dedicated power sources ), or rather one 9V source used for multiple motors ?
Yes, there may be multiple batteries that total no more than 9.0 V for each motor.
- 01/29/2013 - 22:47 If students supply their own track, and the vehicle can travel both directions without changing the magnets, must they still be able to "modify the placement of the magnets" ?
- 01/29/2013 - 22:53 The rules state teams must be able to modify the placement of the magnets so the vehicle can move in either direction. Can just motors be turned around so the car goes the other way or does the car have to be turned around and the magnets moved?
As long as it can be adjusted to travel in either direction, it doesn't matter what is being moved.
- 01/29/2013 - 22:56 Are electromagnets allowed as the magnet for the vehicle and would there be any battery restrictions for them?
Yes. They can not exceed 9.0 V
- 01/29/2013 - 23:08 Can the vehicle touch the guide rail at all times or does the "inadvertent contact" rule apply here as well?
Side wall contact is of course unavoidable. Devices must be designed such that they do NOT rely upon side wall contact to help provide vertical support in place of the levitation magnets. Otherwise, general rule #2 applies to specific designs such as rollers / wheels / etc.
- 01/29/2013 - 23:12 May a lubricant (oil, wax, graphite, teflon, etc.) be applied to the sides of the vehicle and/or the track rails?
Note that 'damage' to the track is anything that might impact subsequent vehicle runs. Otherwise, general rule #2 applies.
- 11/14/2012 - 21:56 If a school sends multiple teams to compete at a single tournament, are those teams permitted to share a track during the competition?
Yes, teams may share tracks.
- 11/14/2012 - 22:09 The rules state that rare earth magnets may not be used on the vehicle, but are they permitted on a competitor-provided track?
Yes. General rule #2 applies, they may be used on student built tracks.
- 01/27/2013 - 22:25 The MagLev track that I purchased from Science Kit (the Science Olympiad recommended vendor) is one quarter inch short of 4 feet. Will this be allowed?
Yes, that is acceptable.
- 11/14/2012 - 21:54 Are changes to the shape of the competitor-provided track allowed, such as a V-shaped channel track?
Yes, the track shape can be changed as long as the specific requirements listed in the rules are still met.
- 11/11/2012 - 20:59 Is it legal to have a strip of magnets running along each side wall of the track and car?
Yes, general rule #2 applies. However note rule 4.c. requires the height of the side rails to be measured from the top of the magnets, which would apply to magnets on the side wall.
- 11/11/2012 - 21:04 May a student who builds his or her own track determine which end of the track the vehicle will start from, or is that choice up to the event supervisor?
No, supervisors will determine the location of the start and finish lines, per rule 5.a.i. Rule 3.k. also requires vehicles to be able to be modified to move in either direction down the track.
- 01/29/2013 - 23:03 Can the team members lift the car to turn the motor on and then place it back on the track?
No, they may not lift the vehicle to turn on the motor.
- 02/17/2013 - 21:56 Are event supervisors supposed to supply the ice-water, or do students need to bring in their own?
Yes, Event Supervisors provide the ice-water.
- 02/17/2013 - 22:09 Whose thermometer is used for the final temp since the paragraph above states the supervisor must supply thermometers/probes and paragraph 4a iv says teams may utilize their own thermometers to measure the starting water temp in their beakers?
Supervisors provide the thermometer for final temp measurement.
- 02/17/2013 - 22:10 Can teams be penalized for submitting a graph containing more than four data plots?
- 01/02/2013 - 13:11 Is drywall considered commercial insulation. In other words, can we use it for Keep the Heat or Thermodynamics?
Yes, drywall is a form of commercial insulation, therefore may not be used for construction of Keep the Heat or Thermodynamics boxes.
- 02/17/2013 - 22:13 Are we allowed to have in our binder more than the required up to 4 graphs that will be handed in?
- 02/17/2013 - 22:15 Are calculators (programmable in particular) to be impounded?
- 02/17/2013 - 22:17 Is impound only for Part 1 of the event (device, tools, notes, plots, etc), or is the binder for Part 2 also to be impounded?
Rule 2.d. explicitly states that notes must be impounded. This includes note for both Part 1 and Part 2.
- 11/20/2012 - 22:05 Can aerogels be used in the construction of the device?
No. Aerogels are a type of foam, which is explicitly prohibited.
- 02/17/2013 - 22:24 Can duct tape be used?
- 11/14/2012 - 21:30 When mentioning types of foams, does it only prohibit "plastic, metal, expandable glue, etc" based foams, or does it prohibit those items entirely e.g. does it prohibit plastic based foams or plastics in general?
The items in the parentheses only apply to the word foam (e.g. the prohibition is only on foams of any type, including plastic foams, metal foams, etc. etc.)
- 11/25/2012 - 14:57 What do you mean by commercial insulation?
Commercial insulation is anything sold / bought that has heat retention as one of the intended properties.
- 01/25/2013 - 19:43 Could craft or quilt batting be used? (e.g. polyester fiber fill, cotton batting, wool batting)
Batting is generally considered to be insulation, and thus prohibited.
- 02/17/2013 - 21:02 You've previously clarified that commercial insulation is anything sold / bought that has heat retention as one of the intended properties. Does this mean if the product packaging lists the features of the product, but doesn't mention heat reten...
Commercial insulation definition: A previous FAQ states: “Commercial insulation is anything sold / bought that has heat retention as one of the intended properties”. To clarify further, the fundamental principle is that competitors need to use 'raw materials' to create their devices, not depend on the work some professional engineer put into designing something to insulate. Items that would be considered ‘commercial insulation’ aren’t always necessarily labeled as such, since there are a lot of products engineered to be significantly better insulators than a normal person would be able to trivially create using the same raw materials. Likewise, just because someone has measured the ‘R Value’ of something and published it, doesn’t mean it’s inherently commercial insulation. As with many things in Science Olympiad, there is a certain amount of subjectiveness that will fall upon the event supervisor in determining whether or not something is commercial insulation and it is impossible for us to list all possibilities. One key factor supervisors will use in determining this is how much effort the competitor put into modifying the 'raw material' to make the device. When in doubt, competitors should always err on the side of caution and select basic raw materials such as some of those listed below.
Some examples of materials that AREN’T considered commercial insulation: • Uncoated glass sheets • Cotton balls • Wine bottle corks • Raw wool • Fiberglass sheets (e.g. the thin paper like material used to repair car body panels) • Aluminum foil
Some examples of materials that ARE considered commercial insulation: • Silverized glass sheets • Cotton batting • Cork paneling • A wool sweater • Glass wool (e.g. fiberglass insulation, the pink fluffy stuff)
- 02/17/2013 - 21:16 Is perlite a permissible material as insulation?
No, perlite is a foam and is not allowed.
- 02/17/2013 - 21:21 Is styrofoam considered to be a type of foam?
Yes, styrofoam is a foam and not allowed in the devices.
- 02/17/2013 - 22:28 Can my team use duct tape completely around the outer edge of the lid to secure it?
Yes, General rule #2 applies: http://soinc.org/ethics_rules
- 02/17/2013 - 21:39 Should the students be allowed to place a separate "plug" or "cap" into or on the opening of the internal 250 mL beaker before closing the device?
Yes, teams may put a "plug" or "cap" on the opening of the internal beaker. Anything put in or around the beaker cannot physically modify the beaker nor the water in the beaker. The required hole for the probe must be at least 1.5 cm in diameter in any plug or cap. The device does not need to be all one physically attached unit.
- 02/17/2013 - 21:42 Does the "250mL standard, unaltered empty Pyrex (or similar brand name) beaker" have to be made of glass?
- 01/25/2013 - 19:46 Is it the external "top surface" or internal "top surface" of the lid? In other words is it the distance from the beaker to where it first hits the lid?
Top surface means the upper most thing that could be considered a surface, which in most cases is the 'external' part of the lid.
- 02/17/2013 - 21:50 How late is the team allowed to insert a thermometer to measure starting temperature after the inside beaker was placed in the container?
This will be up to individual event supervisors, but it should happen as soon as possible so as to not violate the overall spirit of the problem.
- 02/17/2013 - 21:52 May the students wait until after they have added the ice water (if they choose to add ice water) to measure the "starting" temperature with their own thermometer?
No. The starting temperature is the water temperature before adding the ice water.
- Boomilever - Div C
- 01/21/2013 - 22:21 Must teams use all 3 bolts to attach the Attachment Base of the Boomilever to the Testing Wall?
There is no requirement that teams must use all 3 bolts to attach their Boomilever to the testing wall.
- 04/03/2013 - 20:43 May competitors bring their own bolts to use instead of those provided if they fit the description in the rules?
No, Teams must use the equipment provided by the Event Supervisor.
- Gravity Vehicle
- Robot Arm
- 04/14/2013 - 14:29 The description indicates that the students may test ONE device. If a team brings two discrete robot arms (no connection between them at all) that happen to fit in the designated area, would that be considered ONE device?
Yes, they will be considered one device at the National Tournament. Para 1 gives the general requirements for the event. But Para 3 defines the specifications and limits of the device. Specifically, para 3 says ” Device includes the Arm(s), an optional permanently attached Base..." para 3.a says "The Arm(s) may be attached to a Base..." and para 3.b says "...have any number of arms and joints." This means that the device may have any number of arms and there is no need for a physical connection between them.
- 01/22/2013 - 20:07 May we use a robot arm kit such as the Science Kit Robot Arm?
Yes, the Science Kit Robot Arm (or any other Robot or its parts) may be used, but according to paragraphs 1. and 3.b., some design modification (technically one modification) must be made to be scored in Tier 1.
- 11/24/2012 - 23:42 This section states "Ping-Pong Balls must remain undamaged", but does not indicate what penalty a team will receive if they damage a ping-pong ball. What penalty is to be imposed for violating this rule?
Damaging the ping pong balls would be a competition violation and result in the team being placed in tier 3 (see para 7.k.iii).
- 11/24/2012 - 23:44 If adhesive is used to grasp a ping pong ball and some form of residue is left behind after the adhesive is removed post-run, does this qualify as damaging the ping pong ball?
Yes, if residue is still on the ball after you remove the adhesive the ball will not be usable by the next team fairly, therefore would be considered damaged. Note, you must be able to clean and return the ball to the event supervisor quickly to allow the next teams to run fairly.
- 11/24/2012 - 23:45 What consitutes damage to a ping pong ball?
Damage to a ping pong ball would be anything that physically changes the ball so that it is not suitable for fair use by the next team. Including, but not limited to: changing its shape, mass, structural integrity, surface texture, fill gas, etc.
- 04/03/2013 - 20:57 Are items supported by other items fully supported by a goal box considered (transitively) fully supported by the goal box?
Yes, items fully supported by other objects that are in turn supported by a goal box get points, except in the case of a goal/bonus box supporting another goal/bonus box. In that case the supported items only get 1 point each per rule 7.e since they are not being supported by 1 goal or bonus box.
- 04/03/2013 - 20:33 It states that the last part of the run must be raising the ball, does that imply that ALL raising actions of the ball have to be at the end, or can it be raise throughout the run, as long as the last thing done before time is called?
If you raise the ping pong ball throughout the run, NO OTHER POINTS COUNT or NO BONUS POINTS ARE AWARDED! The wording is: " Raising the ping-pong ball must be the team's final task to receive the Bonus Points." The task begins when the ball starts rising and no other points can be scored, or the bonus does not count! It is a separate, distinct, and FINAL action. And rising stops when time stops.
- 04/11/2013 - 21:29 Can an end effector pick up a ping pong ball,that will be used for the final task,early in the run and place it in a holding position, (a cup or cradle) on the base of their robot?
The ping pong ball may be raised or moved at any time during the run in actions that are independent of the "separate, distinct, and FINAL action" of lifting the ping pong ball for the bonus points. However, in order for both the bonus and all other points to count, a distinct raising action must begin with the ball at the same elevation as it started the run at (ie, touching the ground). For example, the ball may be placed into a cup that elevates the ball by any amount at any time during the run, so long as the ball is removed from the cup and is touching the ground immediately before a distinct lifting action begins.
- Elastic Launched Glider
- 11/11/2012 - 20:37 Must the glider be launched from floor level?
Students, not the glider, must be at floor level (standing, sitting, etc.) when the glider is launched.
- 11/11/2012 - 20:40 At what point is the end of the launch?
Launch is to release, catapult, or send off; therefore according to para. 1 and reference to the starting time in 4.k.2, the end of the launch process (not to be confused with the end of the flight) is when the glider leaves the competitors hand (which is also when the time starts).
- 11/04/2012 - 21:30 May the elastic material in the launch handle be metallic?
Yes, the elastic material used with a launch handle may be metallic as long as the supervisors officiating the event feel the application is safe for use.
- 11/12/2012 - 21:08 Can the launch handle be like a cross-bow?
Yes, the launch handle can be any configuration desired, as long as energy to launch comes from elastic stored energy and the launch handle is safe.
- 11/12/2012 - 21:10 Does the launch handle have to be hand held?
No, but the launch handle must be of a safe configuration. If there is any perceived safety hazard, the event supervisor may prohibit its use or the students' participation in the event.
- 11/12/2012 - 21:00 Is their any restriction on the elastic material used for the launch loop?
The elastic material used to launch the glider must be a) elastic and b) of a safe configuration.
- 11/12/2012 - 21:06 Does the elastic launch loop have to be a complete loop?
No, the elastic does not necessarily have to be a complete loop but it must have a loop.
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