UAdeC ICH High School Wins First Place in the “Fair of Sciences and Engineering Coahuila 2020”

Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila´s ICH High School, Institute of Sciences and Humanities “Salvador González Lobo” won first place in Coahuila´s Science and Engineering Fair 2020 organized by the State Council of Science and Technology (COECYT), with the scientific research project “Obtaining hair dye from Walnut Husk”.

Based on the Special Program for Innovation, Science and Technology (PEICT) 2017-2023, Coahuila State Government and COECYT carry out the “Science and Engineering Fair”. This is done each year to promote the technological, humanistic, and scientific research among young people in the different educational systems of the state, as well as to encourage scientific vocations and to meet the needs of the strategic sectors of the region.

UAdeC Basic Sciences Upper Middle Level team was made up of ICH first-semester students: Flor Nataly Galván Santos and Christian Raúl Amaya Ramírez, who had the support and supervision of their Chemistry teacher, Rebeca Casique Valdés to develop the “Noixye” prototype, a natural hair dye with green walnut shell as the main active component.

The development of the project lasted almost two months in the ICH laboratory, where the participants and the teacher worked seven-hour days every Saturday and the rest of the week they had meetings through Microsoft Teams, Dr. Casique commented that this was remarkable teamwork characterized by the students’ discipline, effort, and commitment.

“It all started while brainstorming in class, where the kids had the initiative to create something natural for the hair, using the extract of the walnut husk -green peel or pericarp- which was subjected to many tests before get the final result”, the teacher mentioned.

She highlighted that during the process, hair strands bleached with hydrogen peroxide were used, which were submitted to different treatments depending on the type of extract: aqueous, ethanolic or methanolic and mordants such as ferrous sulfate, alum stone, ascorbic acid, and cinnamon extract, adding Aloe vera as a color developer.

To test the color durability, students washed the hair samples 30 times with sodium lauryl sulfate and without observing any changes, they determined that the ethanolic and methanolic mixtures can dye dark colors, while the aqueous extract mixtures show silvery ash tones.

Finally, they chose the most intense shades of each extract to prepare a cream formula with candelilla wax, coconut oil and xanthan gum, producing an all-natural hair dye, which will participate in 2021 as a representative project of Coahuila in the National Fair and Latin American Humanities, Sciences and Engineering (ATHENA) organized by CONACYT.

“I am happy and very proud of my students because they worked hard, developing research skills and abilities, especially creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking; I trust that they will continue motivated and committed to the project,” she said.

For her part, Flor Galván noted that this was her first practice in the laboratory and although she was afraid of executing the proposed methodology, thanks to the support of her colleague and Dr. Rebeca Casique, they achieved their goal. “When they announced that our project was the winner, I realized that teamwork, dedication and effort were worth it”, she commented.

While Christian Amaya expressed that it was gratifying to materialize the idea presented at the beginning of the semester, “It was very fun and educational, although difficult due to the conditions of the pandemic regarding virtual work, however, I think this will serve us, for our professional development in the future”.

With these actions, Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila reinforces our commitment to the comprehensive training of our students in all academic levels, generating, disseminating, preserving, and applying the knowledge of science, technology, and humanities, with the support of three elements, which are our distinctive features: equity, quality and sustainability.