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Mentorship Journal for the Month of December


December 3

Today, I had a few more questions about how the stress in granular materials could be measured, and after those questions were answered through a discussion of the material, we went on to my next project. Dan wanted to build a device that would allow the funnel to be raised and lowered at a constant rate during the funnel experiments; he had already put a few pieces together, but the majority of the work had not been done yet. The purpose of this new piece of equipment would be to keep the distance between the mouth of the funnel and the top of the growing bead pile constant, so that each falling bead would add roughly the same amount of energy to the bead pile.

There were four sets of sliders that came from a drawer. Each set of two sliders was connected to the ends of a long strip of metal, and between these two long strips was a flat metal ring connected to the midpoints of the two strips by small clamps. My task was to make sure that the two strips were of an equal distance apart from each other (so that they were parallel), and that the ring was centered across the midpoints of the two long strips. Once this was done, I measured the length, width, and height of the resulting oblong box so that an aluminum frame with roughly the same dimensions could be built around the outside of the box for stability.

I drew a diagram of the apparatus Dan had already put together and made the required measurements, and using those measurements, I drew a diagram of the new box and how the apparatus would have to fit inside. To stabilize the set of four sliders, two strips, and ring, the sliders would be screwed onto aluminum strips that would form the box. The next step was to measure the required lengths of strips from several lengthy aluminum strips and cut the strips so that we could determine where the holes needed to be drilled in. Dan went downstairs to the shop to get the strips cut, but then 4:40 had arrived once more, and we hadn't finished our task for today yet. Well, there's always next Thursday. . .


December 10

I had asked for problems to aid my understanding of Mohr's circle, so that I might be able to use this process in the future to measure stresses acting on different planes. I got those problems too--ten problems within ten minutes of my arrival, but I have all of Christmas Break to work them out. After that, I talked with Dr. Behringer for a little while about what we would be doing after I came back from the holidays, and then Dan and I returned to work on what we had started last Thursday. He measured where the holes needed to be drilled and drilled them, and then, we were able to put the box around the four sliders. I thought it was a nice-looking device, but there was more that needed to be done with it, and this was my task for the rest of the day. I was given the assignment of building my own frame of Dexion (light aluminum strips) around the box so that the entire apparatus would securely fit on the table containing the pressure sensor. The frame also needed to house a motor that would lift the funnel up and down automatically (the funnel sat in the ring, so as the ring moved up the sliders, the funnel moved also), but I didn't get to this part today. I measured out 12 Dexion strips of 0.60 m in length each, cut them to size, and then tried to place them together so that the pre-cut holes on the strips aligned at the ends. This was needed so that the corners could be screwed together. This went successfully, but when I finished, the resulting structure was somewhat lopsided on one end. Except for that, the structure was a level, steady cube ready to house the box. This will be done next Thursday.


December 17

Exam week--one way or another, I'm going to get my physics experience for the week.


December 24

Christmas Eve--no Mentorship today!


December 31

Still off on Winter Break. . .