Click below to read a summary of the fraud detection project ideas for Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards; or to go back to project ideas click here.
Check weights and measures of consumer products
Imagine that you work in the Quality Control department of a company that manufactures pre-packaged consumer products. Your job is to sample packages to check that they contain the right mass or volume of product. If not, the filling machines need adjusting. Your first task in this project is to choose two products to check – one solid and one liquid. You need to check at least 10 packs of each, so choose products that keep well, so they can still be used, or consumed, after the project. The contents are bound to vary slightly, particularly if the product contains individual pieces which vary in size (for example a packet of crisps). What other causes of variation can you think of? The e mark means that the average contents of a packet must be at least the nominal amount shown on the label; if not, the company may be fined for selling short measure. If the average is much more than the nominal amount, it means the company is giving away extra product, reducing its profits. So your job is very important!
Investigate alcoholic mixtures
The aim of this project is to investigate the properties of alcohol / water mixtures, and how these can be used to measure alcohol content. The alcohol in drinks is ethanol, C2H5OH. However, the ethanol you use in the laboratory has been ‘methylated’ by adding 5% of methanol, CH3OH. This avoids having to pay duty, because methanol is toxic, so methylated ethanol is not drinkable. Ethanol is also HIGHLY FLAMMABLE. Make sure there are no naked flames near the bottle, Make sure a stopper is on it at all times, and have fire fighting equipment close at hand. Finally – remember that these experiments do not use real alcoholic drinks.
Investigate quality control of mixtures
Goldilocks was rather fussy – too hot, too cold, too big, too small! But some things were just right. She knew what she liked. Goldilocks was a typical consumer, just like you and me. We get used to particular brands of product, and complain if something is not quite the same as usual. Manufacturers use quality control procedures to check that their products are consistent and up to standard. This poses some interesting challenges. In this project you must rise to the challenge. Try to make contact with a business that performs these sorts of analyses. This might be a manufacturer’s quality control department, or an independent organisation, such as a Public Analyst who tests samples for the Trading Standards Department.