Wednesday, July 15, 2009



Today we continued to work our final projects for our chemistry class. One of the methods we're using to test our water samples is Flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS). My group takes samples and feed it into a machine that vaporizes and then atomizes it with a flame. As the sample is atomized, a light is shown through the flame and the machine reads the amount of light that passes through. The machine has to be tuned to a certain element that it's looking for and the amount of light that passes through the flame depends on the concentration of that element. From that, we can learn how much of one type of element there is in the sample and then compare the number we get to the "normal" amount that the water should have. It was actually really simple once we got the hang of it. We're also measuring pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen using MicroLab.

Tomorrow there's a college fair during mid-day. I'm really excited because it'll give me more exposure to different colleges on the East Coast. I actually remember reading on last year's blog about it and I can't wait to go. I've made a small list of schools (M.I.T., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, John Hopkins U, Carnegie Mellon, R.I.T., & Tufts) on the East Coast that I want to look at, I hope that the schools will be at the college fair.


1 comment:

Don Gosney said...


That’s amazing. T appears that Columbia tests water EXACTLY the same way that I do here at my house.

I’m betting that your results are better than mine, though. I’m afraid that I had to poor boy my equipment and got my machines on sale at Radio Shack.

I like the ay you’re handling the college fair you’ll be attending. Coming in with a prepared list of schools should help. If I might suggest, arrive early so you can get in ahead of the crowds. We were reading a week or so ago about the 1.5-2 hour waits in line for a different college fair.

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