First Day (26 May, Tuesday)

  • What did you do today?
      • We created 2 composite material, carbon-fibre and fibreglass composites. We also looked through a scanning electron microscope, seeing the structures on insects with stunning fineness and clarity. We also saw the zinc oxide nanoparticles, which seemed much like that of budding yeast
  • What did you learn today?
      • We learned about the different types of composite materials; particle-reinforced, fibre-reinforced, and structural composites, along with their dependent constituents. We also learnt about how a scanning electron microscope generally worked, as well as the procedure of using it.
  • How do you feel about today’s activities?
      • I realised that the background knowledge I had was very minimal, as what I had learnt in NTU about the SEMs and composites was substantially larger. I also managed to clear out my doubts and questions that were compounded inside me with the instructors and supervisors at the different laboratories.
    • Insights
      • I used to think that a composite material had the constituents, matrix and binder but then my supervisor corrected me; matrix and binder are the same thing, hence the two constituents of a composite material is a matrix/binder and a reinforcer(such as a fibre or particle reinforcement.
      • I had learnt that if a live insect or tiny creature is kept for examination in the Scanning Electron Microscope, it would die if the electron beam becomes too intense.
      • When the column of the SEM is depressurised when a moist specimen, like an ant, is used, the sensors in the SEM would think that the moisture around the ant is air particles, and hence totally vacuumise the column. This would cause all the moisture to be sucked out. This might cause cracks the ant's body, thus compromising the quality of the ant. Therefore, a substance is put on the ant, such as gold, to harden the ant's structure.

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