Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week 2 - The Project

On Tuesday, Ned and I met with Dr. Reinhard where we discussed our project. We started by asking him a few questions regarding his "teaching". His answers to the questions asked made me realize that he has the same challenges as a college professor that I have as a high school teacher and that Ned has in the middle school level.  Some of the challenges he has when teaching is knowing some students pass, even though they are not prepared. He compared his experience at Boston University to when his experience in Germany. He said, "because in Germany the university is free, students who do not know what is expected, do not move to the next level. But when students pay $60,000/year its hard to fail." In addition, another area of struggle, is that students do not have strong work habits which is challenging because it takes time to teach.

Prior to meeting with Dr. Reinhard, Ned and I had discussed several testable variables but do to the uncertainty of the science and the expected outcome we were not sure if they were feasible. As we discussed our project with Dr. Reinhard we gather data that allowed us to begin a design for our project. We were also able to discussed testable variables with greater detail, and develop a strong testing plan. In  addition to creating the testing plan, New also forwarded the information to the graduate students we have been working with Bo Yan and Yan Hong. After the feedback they provided us with, we still have a little more research to do, but feel confident that our testing plan is do able.

Ned and I have decided that we are going to test
1)  the exposure time of the explosive material vapor on the sensor chip.
2)  the concentration of the explosive material vapor that is exposed to the sensor chip.
3)  the location of the concentration so that the molecules are exposed to a more "typical" environment.
4)  the distance from the source of the explosive material to the sensor chip.

In oder to do this we need to
1) Hold the concentration of the explosive material constant at 15 ppb.
2) Continue to use the NaOH solution on the surface of the sensor chip.
3) Hold exposure time the same for all tests. 5 minutes.
4) Vary the distance, from 0 - 3 feet. and varying distances between.
5) determine the rate of evaporation of the solution.

In order to analyze the data we are going to learn how to use the microscope with Bo Yan.

Overall, this week was very productive. I have learned a great deal and we have made great progress with the our robot and the overall design of the project. 

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