Week 8: Troubleshooting and Misfires

This week has been really busy in the lab, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. What is out of the ordinary is some of the results we have been getting for the new substance I am working on, the Glc-C3-N-C10, as well as the mRL. So, this week has been repetition after repetition of trials in an attempt to find the cause of the problem. To elaborate, the surface tensions that we are expecting for both substances are supposed to max out around 70, close to that of water, but we are unable to get past 65 or 66. So this last week or so has been us trying to figure out where the contamination could possibly be. We have tried multiple possible sources, all ending with the same results. For example, we use a buffer solution in order to dissolve the mRL and measure the CMC value, and one possible source of contamination could be from the substances used to create this buffer. So, in theory, re-crystallizing and purifying those substances would get rid of any contamination coming from the buffer, but it turns out that the problem was not the buffer solution. We have also tried using two different samples of the mRL to see if it was the source of the contamination, but that was not the problem either. Another source could have been the type of buffer we were using, so we changed out the NaOH we were using and replaced it with Na2HPO4, and, if you haven’t caught on yet, no success. This has proven to be quite a difficult problem, and it has prevented us from moving on with my research, which is not good since I have to begin presentations soon.

Speaking of which, even though I am going to go through presenting my work so far and the senior project term is almost up, I have been given the opportunity to continue my research here at the lab and am very eager to continue here. I have really enjoyed the atmosphere, the people, and the work environment, and I am very grateful for BASIS and my BASIS adviser for showing me this lab. Thank you to everyone, and I will likely have one or two more blog posts before the project is over.

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