Sophia (Leader)

Pre-camp (25 May, Monday)
  • What sounds interesting about this project?
    • The using of this electron microscope sounds interesting and I want to learn how to use it. I want to learn how this SEM works and it's difference from other types of microscope.
  • What do you think you can learn from this project?
    • How to use the SEM and apply it to our day to day lives. We can learn more about the different types of microscopes. As of now we've only learnt about light microscopes.
  • Any immediate questions regarding the project?
    • What is a Transmission electron microscopy and its difference with a SEM
    • What is a Phase Contrast microscopy and its difference with a SEM
    • What is a Differential Interference Contrast microscopy and its difference with SEM
    • What is a Atomic Force Microscopy and its difference with SEM
First Day (26 May, Tuesday)
  • What did you do today?
    • Today, we did our first 2 projects of the 3. They were the "Scanning Electron Microscope" and "Tensile Testing of Engineering Materials".
    • First of, we were given a short introduction on what was to happen today and tomorrow. And also a briefing on safety procedures. This was at the E-studio where everybody from group 7 were gathered.
    • Then we (group 7) were given a short tour of the labs. After which we had a short break before splitting up into our sub-groups to continue on with our projects. 
    • Our 1st project was the "Scanning Electron Microscope" and our mentor was Ms.Wen Ting. Here we were first introduced to the SEM (theory part) and we were to try out a simulation of the SEM before we actually touched the real thing. After having done that, we moved on to a lab with the SEM. Ms Wen Ting first demonstrated how to use the SEM and set up experiment for us. We had 4 samples to zoom in to : a fruit fly, a black bug, an ant and zinc oxide. With this, we were done with the first project.
    • Then we had a 1.5h break before proceeding on to our 2nd project. Our mentor was Mr. Zhong zhan? We were led to another lab which had tensile machines. He gave us a short briefing on the tensile machines and on engineering stress and strain. He proceeded to demonstrate how to operate the machine and then he let us try out the 3 different material. (Aluminium, Polypropylene and Polystyrene) polyethylene being the opaque white one and polystyrene being the transparent one. After testing it out and gathering the data. It was exported to a thumb drive which we then downloaded to a Macbook to gather the data and put it into a scatter graph with strain being the x-axis and stress being the y-axis. Once we were done, we gathered back at the E-studio and our day was over.
  • What did you learn today?
    • I learnt that if there is moisture in the specimen it will affect the image quality and it might simply collapse or blow up in the vacuumed chamber. 
    • If we heat up the filament too fast, the filament might melt and break due to the sudden change in heat.
    • For the tensile testing, although the material's atoms may be the same, the way they are arranged affects how it will react to the load.
  • How do you feel about today’s activities?
    • I felt that both the SEM and tensile testing were both very interesting. For the SEM we got to zoom in and out and focus. For the tensile testing, we got to pull the materials apart till they broke.
  • Describe how the project has affected your understanding of the discipline and how it may be applied elsewhere
    • The SEM and light microscope are different, one uses light and the other uses electrons. The one using light has color whereas the one using electrons does not. But the one using electrons can provide an extremely clear image as compared to the light microscope.
    • this way, if we want to observe some special abilities of animals, such as the gecko's ability to climb up walls. The reason behind this is because the gecko's have really fine features that look like hair on their toe pads.
    • the tensile testing machine tests sees how much load the material can withstand before breaking. Ceramics are brittle but very strong. Metal alloys are both strong and ductile. Flimsy materials such as rubber are not strong but very ductile.
    • This is can be applied to companies who need to test their materials to see the load it can withstand before breaking.

Second Day (27 May, Wednesday)
  • What did you do today?
    • Today we did the 3rd project "Composite Material Processing" and we prepared our presentation.
    • We started the day at the E-studio before proceeding on to our final project, the "Composite Material Processing". We had to put on our lab coats before we were allowed to enter the room. There we were given a brief introduction on composite materials and then shown a video on how carbon fibre is made. We were then told to put on a mask, safety goggles and gloves. Prateek went to get the epoxy and hardener solution "glue" while Klaudia and I went to get the various materials and lay them out. The most interesting part came when we got our hands dirty with the "glue" and we had to spread it in between each layer of carbon fibre. I was quite surprised that the carbon fibre was actually something like cloth before they hardened it. I always thought of it as a liquid solution kind of thing which you poured into a mould.
    • Then we proceeded back to the e-studio to come up with a presentation on the 3 projects before having our break and coming back to present them.
  • What did you learn today?
    • It is best for carbon fibre to be kept in a vacuum while drying so that it will get rid of air pockets in between the layers. If not, these air pockets could become the start of the cracks in the material.
    • Some advantages of composites include : the ability to have various properties that no single material alone can have. It may also have enhanced properties. 
    • Some disadvantages of composites include : the pricey cost of producing these materials. And also the amount of time needed to make the materials. Simply put, the making of composite materials, requires a lot of resources. 
  • How do you feel about today’s activities?
    • My favourite was the "composite material processing project" it was hands-on and we got to make our own carbon fibre from the fabric-looking part to the super light but strong part.
  • Describe how the project has affected your understanding of the discipline and how it may be applied elsewhere
    • The use of composite materials is so vast. Take carbon fibre for example. It could be used in bike and race cars to make them lighter and stronger.
  • What new questions do you have regarding the discipline?
    • would the carbon fibre still be hard if they weren't weaved together but instead places side by side.

Third Day (28 May, Thursday)
  • Project Sharing Sessions
    • Note down at least three key learning points
  • How do you feel about the SST-NTU Flagship programme?
    • I have learnt how important composite materials are and how they can be applied to real life. How companies can use the tensile machine to test their materials. How the SEM can be used to examine tiny dead, dry objects in HD quality.

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