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YSC Blog Post 3 -- [Cheyenne]

It was an easy process to narrow my list of problems down to three.  I simply chose the ones that excited me every time I thought about them.  However, it was harder to choose a single one to work on.  I ended up selecting the most developed one, but I could just as well have chosen a problem that I had no idea how to solve yet.  I would just have to think a bit more.

My mentor, Dr. Maria Appeaning, a chemist who specializes in adhesives, has been a huge help.  She approved my decision, and promptly sent me supplies and materials.  I couldn’t have gone far without her.

The problem that I chose requires testing of the 3M material that I will incorporate.  Although I can find a slew of information on the 3M websites, the particular parameter that I’m looking for has no information, because the material is not usually used the way I will utilize it.  Therefore, I must test them to figure out which one to use in my invention.

I had several ideas for the testing, but all of them were foiled by the limited supply at hardware stores and restricted access at possible testing sites.  I passed the first obstacle by rummaging through my old house and finding supplies that aren’t made anymore. The second obstacle was much harder to overcome.  I must have traveled to five sites all over the city (and proximity); some were more than an hour away!  Unfortunately, none fit my requirements.

To solve this, I designed a testing chamber so I can test my materials at home.  I had to draw many different designs, each better than the last.  I finally came up with one that was plausible, using supplies I already had on hand.

Failing is something that all scientists have to endure.  Experiments go awry, inventions don’t work, research comes to a halt.  But we have to overcome these failures to make our final result as impeccable as possible.  Experiments and inventions must be redesigned, research takes a new route.  All scientists need to persevere through setbacks, and I’m experiencing that right now.

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