Students from across the county have put their chemistry skills to the test at a University of Cumbria science fair.

The Salters’ Festival of Chemistry, which is taking place throughout the UK, gives young people the chance to solve a crime using the skills they have learnt in school.

One of the investigations that the pupils got stuck into was called “Shipwrecked: The Z Files”. It was all about a shipwreck with chemical cargo, but the cargo had mixed with debris and sand.

The children used their skills to separate all the chemicals and metals.

Nigel Smith, STEM co-ordinator at the university, said: “This is a chemistry challenge, its a chance to put their analytical skills to the test.

“We’re taking the chemistry that they have been learning in school and applying that to a real world context.

“There are so many benefits to learning science, we’re just trying to make science appear exciting, interesting, and fun so hopefully these young aspiring students can become the next chemists of the future.”

Twenty students from Ullswater Community College, in Penrith; Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, in Penrith; Lime House School, in Dalston; Windermere School; and Chetwynde School, in Barrow, took part in the day’s exciting tests.

Rebecca Bovingfoster, 13 from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, said: “We’re doing different practicals and just using new equipment that we couldn’t use at school.

“I really liked when we were looking at what reacted the most with what and that was really interesting.”

Oscar Johnson, 12 from Windermere School, said: “I enjoyed the practical this morning - we were working using chromatography and testing reactions to match substances using forensics.”

Imogen Stoker, 12, from Chetwynde School, said: “It’s all about chemistry really, we’ve just got investigations and experiments and we’ve got to try and work out the method and then explain it to everyone.

“We haven’t really done anything like this before but it’s been fun.”