A pair of Vietnamese high school students from the south-central province of Binh Dinh have developed a bookshelf able to float.
The model, recently awarded the grand prize at the provincial inventors contest for students, was created by 11th graders Le Quang Hoan and Le Thi Bich Quyen in Tuy Phuoc District.
According to Quyen, the bookshelf, made out of plastic bottles, was made on the basis of Archimedes’ principles of water buoyancy and the natural characteristics of the bottles.
“The bookshelf we crafted can store books weighing up to 150kg when floating in water,” she said.
The two said that the shelf took them a month and VND150,000 (US$6.72) to create.
To give the shelf a more aesthetic look, Quyen and Hoan designed flowers and star-shaped figures from the bottles’ necks, paper, and cloth.
The idea of a floating shelf came to the pair when they were the 10th graders at High School No. 3 Tuy Phuoc.
Quyen recalled a deluge that swept through her house and completely submerged the wooden shelf containing her coursebooks and materials.
She complained about the flood to her neighbor in class, Hoan, who later agreed to help her find out how to build a bookshelf that could float.
“We sketched up the concept and exchanged ideas on how to make such a shelf,” Quyen recounted.
According to Hoan, the two’s ultimate goal is to prevent rural students in frequently flooded areas from losing learning materials as well as raising public awareness of protecting the environment.
“The bookshelf itself is not only beneficial to the user but also to the environment,” Hoan said, explaining that plastic bottles can be converted into something practical and environmentally friendly.
“We ran a program aiming to collect used plastic bottles from local schools, residential areas, and public places when building the shelf in order to raise the awareness of environmental protection in the community,” he added.
“It looks quite simple at first but it has a powerful educational message as well as practical features that make the product stand out,” said Le Van Tam, the organizer of the provincial inventors contest for students.