Hey ya’ll! Chloe here.
The end of the semester is almost upon us. I hope everybody is getting through reading period and final exams in one piece. Whew, this was a long, fulfilling semester.
The semester began with Gabe, Monica, and I partnered up. We began working through the CH-0XX samples and managed to put a good dent in them through leaching and running. GSA was a big adventure way back in September and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go to Denver along with a bunch of other Obie geology majors. Getting to see Obie graduates was also a plus and I know that Monica and I both learned a great deal about how to present a research poster at a conference!
Moving past that, I was able to become more comfortable with the whole leaching process, even while the lab had to deal with acid rain in the fume hoods and the switch to using sodium hydroxide as a base. Using the base in order to neutralize the sample is not difficult and does not add on much more time to the overall leaching process, which is a lucky fix for our acid rain problem. And there is a lovely ~COLOR CHANGE~ in the leachate when adding the base, which is always entertaining. Using pH paper strips, we can just dab a drop of the solution onto the paper to see how acidic or basic it is. We are shooting for a neutral pH, which tends to come out rather greenish on the pH strip and some sort of orange-brown-red color in the beaker full of leachate. When heating up the leachate in order to dry it down, there is a substantial amount of salt that forms on the sides of the beaker. This sneaky salt can simply be scraped off the sides of the beaker back into the leachate, but it is definitely a cool new addition to the whole leaching process!
Gabe and I also learned how to calculate for decay corrected activity in a variety of CH-0XX samples. This involved learning more about the software on the lab computers and what it is capable of. It was a bit tricky, but with the help of Amanda and one or two of our lab group members, it was easily done. Gabe and I have uploaded our results, which include samples from the CH-0XX group, onto the shared lab group Google drive. J
Well, I’m off to study abroad in ~New Zealand~ next semester so I won’t be posting until next fall. I hope you all have a wonderful spring semester and the leaching process continues to progress smoothly!