The first day was amazing in that everything and everyone was friendly and kind. I arrived there an hour early to get ready for the big day. I got my own imprint energy laptop, my desk, and Imprint office supplies. I got the real tour and the orientation of Imprint Energy with one of the seniors of the company. Then I got my first task: battery testing on machine called STARS which measures the resistance and the voltage of the battery pack to check whether the combined batteries have values that fit the criteria in the software as together or seperate.
The test required a simple process: place batteries in the slots shown in Figure 2. Then scan the barcode on the bottom left of the battery pack for every battery from 1-12 in that order. Then the tricky part is lining up the four pegs of the sensors on the board to match up to the copper to achieve the most accurate. Then close the cover and push start on the computer.
Figure 1: The STARS machine with the cover open and 12 batteries are placed into the respected positions.
Figure 2: The STARS machine with the cover open and 12 batteries are placed into the respected positions. With the copper ends showing.
I was coached by another intern. At first I was excited to do my task, however, I realize that testing was really tedious upon doing hundreds of batteries a day. I asked for a lot of help on the process with the second intern on how to make the task easier. That same day, I had lunch with the entire team and it was really fun. At the end of the day, the VP introduced me to new projects involving new materials that can optimize the properties of the battery. The three projects are using Ammonium Polyacrylate, Sodium Polyacrylate, and Zinc Chloride to make new inks if possible. The next day, I finished all the battery tests that were required to do for the day. Then I got started on my next task of the day, cutting out the batteries packs precisely. I had some help on cutting the packs out because I messed up a couple times. In the end, I made an improvement to the cutting process by marking the bottom right and top left corner placements of the paper containing the six battery packs. The highlights of the week were working in the lab.
I was first trained on how to use a density cup. I realized that I had to clean everything with isopropanol to avoid any contamination, even if the tool was not used before the experiment.
The first day that I wore a lab coat was on June 5th. Throughout the week, I was making different solutions with different chemicals.
The equipment is exactly the same I use in the Chemistry labs back in Berkeley. After the first week I realized the best learning came from asking a lot of questions to my supervisors about the batteries and the chemistry behind it. There is a training procedure for the lab work. My supervisors first train me on the tools for the chemistry, then once my supervisors feel that i am qualified on the tools they let me fo it on my own. It so strange because until this internship I always had a lab partner for the entirely of the lab. This way i gain independence and confidence in my lab work. In the lab, everything is recorded: so I have to be aware of everything at all times.
Throughout the first two weeks of the internship, I realize that everything matters in that I have as a significant role as an internship. I am responsible for gathering data on the batteries resistance to try to help figure out the cause of why the batteries are failing after a certain amount of time. I am also responsible of helping of reformulating the electrolyte to gain better properties of the battery. Since the battery has a sandwhich .
Now, after two weeks,I have settled into a comfortable schedule:
I have to test 300 battery packs a day which takes the full morning to do.. Then in the afternoon, i do experiments on the solutions in the lab. Primarily, the goal for me is to try to make a solution of zinc chloride, Poly vinyl alcohol, and glass spheres and try to get that solution to have a viscosity of greater than 1 Pa*s and a casting test as a follow up.