On Monday I had to catch up on the work because I got sick on Friday due to throwing up. I had to finish a certain of trays that I need do. In the lab, I have been using repeatability to confirm my results of tests. For example, I do 3 viscosity tests on the same sample in intervals of 15 mins in order to check for the trends of the sample. On Wednesday, I was given a lecture on the chemistry of the water-based electrolyte with zinc chloride learning that I can experiment with the solutions with the previous projects to achieve the desired result for the perfect ink. Since we synthesized several different solutions with different ratios of Polyvinyl alcohol, borosica, we tried a new replacement for the glass silica is fumed silica which could help with the sickness of the mixture. However, those experiments were unsuccessful in that the films that were created were too sticky and too longer to dry. So, my supervisor and I decided on a new formulation that didn’t include the fumed silica in the mixture. I got trained on using a doctor blade or a device that removes excess ink of the mixture on a piece of translucent ink. The process helps creates a wet film. The things that you want to look for in the dry film is no air bubbles, it’s not sticky, and it's uniform across the entire ink. On the testing side, my job is updated where in that the Battery testing machine was updated to have a blue color to the batteries to show that the batteries passed the test. However, that adds to the level of difficulty because I have to recheck them by applying a multimeter to check for the ocv on the single cells to make sure that the readings of the machine make sense on the cells. On Friday, we had visitors from W.L. Gore come in and check us out. They gave us new materials to help us in the lab. My mom came to visit on Friday at 4:00 pm to check where I work at. My mom and I toured the facilities and outside. Also, on that day, my supervisor on testing gave me a talk on me being too pressured on the amount of work. She lifted my spirits up and realize that I don’t need to compete against anyone and a lesson that accuracy is better than speed. She told me that I am doing great and no need to be super hard on myself. She told me to speak up if the amount of testing. The second week was the hardest week i have had. On Monday, I grinded through three batches of testing plus cutting out 20 sheets of batteries. I almost didn’t want to eat lunch because I felt driven to succeed to finish all the work, to prove that I can do everything. On Tuesday, I messed up because I didn’t remember the time that I put certain samples in the oven. I was so hard on myself because I thought by miscommunicating the truth, the supervisor would consider me a failure and a dishonest person. However, I needed to put that behind me and focus on the present moment. The rest of the week was trying to figure out how to get back to the best film that happened a couple of weeks ago. However, the real fun have that weekend when I went with new friends to Stinson Beach on Saturday. It was the greatest moment in the summer at the beach. My friends and I played spiked ball, went into the water, and enjoyed the perfect weather. Afterwards, we got In and Out and I got to meet new friends that were really nice. For next week, my supervisor gave my three tasks to accomplish for the next two days:
- Dry the sample after mixing for 2 days and more at 65 degrees Celsius.
- Dry the sample after mixing for 2 days and more at 50 degrees Celsius.
- Dry the sample on the bench and shows it's absorbing curve.
Also, I realized that experimentation is like playing an instrument, where it trying a long time to finally get the results that you want. I had to realize that because I got frustrated at my results from this week, feeling that we weren’t getting the same kind of film as before. Patience is a key virtue in this lab.
Figure 1: At Stinson Beach.
This is before we found a sitting spot where all of my friends where started to have fun.