Display & Safety Rules


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NOT Allowed at Project
Allowed at Project BUT with Restrictions
Electrical Regulations
Items Required to be Visible at the Project
Additional Items Required to be at the Project But NOT Displayed
General Display & Safety Information & Requirements

The State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa Scientific Review Committee and Display and Safety Committee will examine ALL displays to ensure they are in compliance with these safety regulations!

The SSTFI Display & Safety Committee is the final authority on display and safety issues for projects approved by the SRC to compete in the SSTFI.  Occasionally the SSTFI Display and Safety Committee may require students to make revisions in their display to conform to display and safety regulations.

Fair Day Instructions/Forms for SRC & DSC Violations

The process for Scientific Review Committee (SRC) and Display and Safety Committee (DSC) violation checks are completed during the set-up times on Thursday afternoon. To familiarize yourself with procedures please be sure to review this page carefully. 

The Thursday Project Approval Process will go much faster if there are no violations to begin with. Before attending the fair please take a moment to complete the checklists yourself and make sure you will be readily cleared for judging!

Download the Fair Day Instructions/Forms for SRC & DSC Violations (PDF)

Download the SRC Paperwork Review Rubric (pdf)
--this rubric used when paperwork is initially received.

Not Allowed at Project

  • Living organisms, including plants
  • Taxidermy specimens or part
  • Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals
  • Human or animal food
  • Human/animal parts or body fluids (for example, blood, urine)
  • Plant materials (living, dead or preserved) which are in their raw, unprocessed, or non-manufactured state (Exception: manufactured construction materials used in building the project or display)
  • ALL chemicals including water (Exceptions: water integral to an enclosed apparatus or water supplied by the Display and Safety Committee)
  • ALL hazardous substances or devices (for example: poisons, drugs, firearms, weapons, ammunition, reloading devices)
  • Dry ice or other sublimating solids
  • Sharp items (for example, syringes, needles, pipettes, knives)
  • Flames or highly flammable materials
  • Batteries with open-top cells
  • Awards, medals, business cards, flags, endorsements and/or acknowledgements (graphic or written) unless the item(s) are an integral part of the project. Exception -- those given out specifically by SSTFI for viewing
  • Photographs or other visual presentations depicting vertebrate animals in surgical techniques, dissections, necropsies, or other lab procedures
  • Active Internet or e-mail connections as part of displaying or operating the project.
  • Prior years’ written material or visual depictions on the vertical display board. Exception: the project title displayed in the booth may mention years or which year the project is (for example, “Year Two of an Ongoing Study”). Continuation projects must have the Continuation Project Form (7) displayed.
  • Glass or glass objects unless deemed by the Display and Safety Committee to be an integral and necessary part of the project (Exception: glass that is an integral part of a commercial product such as a computer screen)
  • Any apparatus deemed unsafe by the Scientific Review Committee, the Display and Safety Committee, or the SSTFI Board of Directors (for example, large vacuum tubes or dangerous ray-generating devices, empty tanks that previously contained combustible liquids or gases, pressurized tanks, etc.)

Allowed at Project, BUT with the Restrictions Indicated

  • Soil, sand, rock and/or waste samples if permanently sealed in a slab of acrylic
  • Postal, Web and e-mail addresses, telephone and fax numbers of finalist only.
    Do Not place acknowledgements on the display board!
  • Photographs and/or visual depictions if:
    • They are not deemed offensive or inappropriate by the Scientific Review Committee, the Display and Safety Committee, or the SSTFI Board of Directors.
    • Credit lines of their origins (“Photograph taken by...” or “Image taken from...”) are attached. If all photographs being displayed were taken by the student or are from the same source, one credit line prominently displayed is sufficient.
    • They are from the Internet, magazines, newspapers, journals, etc., and credit lines are attached. If all photographs/images being displayed are from the same source, one credit line prominently displayed is sufficient.
    • They are photographs or visual depictions of the student.
    • They are photographs of human subjects for which signed consent forms are at the project or in the booth. Human Subjects Form (4) or equivalent photograph release signed by the human subject must be included in paperwork.
  • Any apparatus with unshielded belts, pulleys, chains, or moving parts with tension or pinch points if for display only and not operated
  • Any demonstration for judges or the public must be performed within the maximum size of the project permitted, and area 30" depth by 48" width by 108" height. 
  • Class II lasers if:
    • The output energy is less than 1 mW 
    • Operated only by the Finalist.
    • Operated only during Display and Safety inspection and during judging
    • Labeled with a sign reading "Laser Radiation: Do Not Stare Into Beam."
    • Enclosed in protective housing that prevents physical and visual access to beam.
    • Disconnected when not operating.
      NOTE:  Class II lasers are found in laser pointers and in aiming and range-finding devices.  They pose a risk if the beam is directly viewed over a long period of time.
  • Class III and IV lasers if for display and not operated
  • Any apparatus producing temperatures that will cause physical burns if adequately insulated

Electrical Regulations at the SSTFI

  • Any project needing electricity MUST mark the appropriate section of the on-line entry form.
  • All projects requesting electricity will be charged a $15 fee per outlet required.
  • Finalists requiring electrical circuits must provide a UL-listed 3-wire extension cord which is appropriate for the load and equipment.
  • Electrical power supplied to projects and, therefore, the maximums allowed for projects is 120 or 220 Volt, A.C., single phase, 60 cycle. Maximum circuit amperage/wattage available is determined by the electrical circuit capacities of the exhibit hall and may be adjusted on-site by the Display and Safety Committee. For all electrical regulations, "120 Volt A.C." or "220 Volt A.C." is intended to encompass the corresponding range of voltage as supplied by the facility in which the SSTFI is being held.
  • All electrical work must conform to the National Electrical Code or exhibit hall regulations. The guidelines presented here are general ones, and other rules may apply to specific configurations. The on-site electrician may be requested to review electrical work on any project.
  • All electrical connectors, wiring, switches, extension cords, fuses, etc. must be UL-listed and must be appropriate for the load and equipment. Connections must be soldered or made with UL-listed connectors. Wiring, switches, and metal parts must have adequate insulation and over-current safety devices (such as fuses) and must be inaccessible to anyone but the Finalist. Exposed electrical equipment or metal that is liable to be energized must be grounded or shielded with a non-conducting material or with a grounded metal box or cage to prevent accidental contact.
  • Wiring which is not part of a commercially available UL-listed appliance or piece of equipment must have a fuse or circuit breaker on the supply side of the power source and prior to any project equipment.
  • There must be an accessible, clearly visible on/off switch or other means of disconnect from the 120 or 220 volt power source.
  • Any lighting that generates considerable and excessive amounts of heat (high-intensity lamps, certain halogen lights, etc.) must be turned off when the student is not present.

Items Required to be Visible at the Project

  • Abstract (displayed vertically -- does not have to be attached to the backdrop but must be visible in the display area!)
  • Official Exhibit Number (provided at SSTFI registration/set-up)
  • SRC/Display and Safety Signature Form (provided by SSTFI Officials)
  • Regulated Research Institutional/Industrial Setting Form (1C) - if applicable (displayed vertically at the project)
  • Continuation Project Form (7)-if applicable (displayed vertically at the project)
  • Photograph/image credits (if only one or two photographers can use one general photo credit -- otherwise each photo/image must be credited).

Additional Items Required to be at the Project But NOT Displayed

  • ALL Forms required for Scientific Review Committee approval including but not limited to: 
    • Checklist for Adult Sponsor/Safety Assessment Form,
    • Student Checklist (1A),
    • Research Plan
    • Approval Form (1B)
    • Human Subjects (4)

Which are required for the project or for Scientific Review Committee approval do not have to be displayed as part of the project but should be available in the booth in case asked for by a judge or fair official

In addition: a photograph/video release form signed by the human subject for visual images of humans [other than the student(s)] diplayed as part of the project.  These forms and any informed consent forms should NOT be displayed!

General Display and Safety Information and Requirements

  1. The State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa, the Scientific Review Committee and/or the Display and Safety Committee reserve the right to remove any project for safety reasons OR to protect the integrity of the SSTFI and its rules and regulations.
  2. No changes, modifications, or additions to projects may be made after approval by the Display and Safety Committee and the Scientific Review Committee.
  3. A project data book and research paper are not required but are highly recommended.
  4. Display of photographs other than that of the student must have a photo release signed by the subject, and if under 18 years of age, also by the guardian of the subject.  Sample consent text: "I consent to the use of visual images (photos, videos, etc.) involving my participation/my child's participation in this research."
  5. Finalists using audio-visual or multi-media presentations (for example, 35mm slides; videotapes; images, graphics, animations, etc., displayed on computer monitors; or other non-print presentation methods) must be prepared to show the entire presentation to the Display and Safety inspectors before the project is approved.
  6. If a project fails to qualify and is not removed by the Finalist, SSTFI Officials will remove the project in the safest manner possible, but is not responsible for damage to the project.
  7. Any copies of CD’s, disks, printed materials designed to be distributed to judges or members of the public which are confiscated by the Display and Safety Committee will be discarded and will not be returned to the Finalist.
  8. Project sounds, lights, odors or any other display items must not be distracting.
  9. Any project with a component that will be demonstrated by the Finalist may be demonstrated only within the confines of the Finalist’s booth. When not being demonstrated, the component plus the project may not exceed allowed dimensions.
  10. No food or drinks, except small containers of bottled water or those items purchased at the exhibit hall, are allowed in the exhibit hall.
  11. NO FOOD or drink purchased off site is allowed in Scheman or Hilton! Any student or school found with such food or drink in Scheman or Hilton will be removed from the building. If this becomes more of problem the SSTFI may be asked to leave and unable to utilize these facilities in the future!
  12. Please be respectful of other students projects -- any student or person caught tampering with or being destructive to another project will lead to immediate removal from the grounds and in the case that it is another exhibitor they will be disqualified from competition.