Welcome to the blog for the Oberlin College Geomorphology Research Group. We are a diverse team of students working with Amanda Henck Schmidt on geomorphology questions. This blog is an archive of our thoughts about our research, field work travel notes, and student research projects. Amanda's home page is here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hi Geo peeps/fans! Simon here.

          I just started working in the lab over this Winter Term, and I'll be continuing into the next semester. I'm a senior Geology and Environmental Studies double-major from Baltimore, MD, and I'm thrilled to be doing research in this lab.

          I've been learning the nuts and bolts of working in the lab: what we do, and how to do it. I've been learning how to leach samples, centrifuge them, dry them down, and then run them in the Germanium detector. There's only Monica and myself working in the lab right now, so there is plenty to do!
Sieving a soil sample
Pouring a dried sample into a leaching bottle
Pouring Hydrochloric Acid into a sample to leach it
Once the leachate is removed from the solid residue through centrifuging,
I add Sodium Hydroxide to neutralize it
          Amanda gave me a project to determine how much water the samples absorb as they sit in the sample containers after being dried down. The assumption is that they do absorb some water because they have a high salt content (from the HCl reacting with the NaOH) and salts tend to absorb water. Gaining a better understanding of the water content in each sample will allow for a more accurate analysis of the composition of each sample.

          To test how much water is absorbed, I took some prepared samples and dried them down by placing them on the hot plate for two days. Of the nine samples, I chose three each of various masses to be left open, closed, or closed and sealed with electrical tape. I just started the experiment this morning, but I'm already seeing results, particularly from the samples left open to the air.

Water absorption experiment
          This Winter Term is going well and I'm looking forward to a great semester working in the Geomorphology Lab!

Until next time,

Selfie with Harbin (the germanium detector)

No comments:

Post a Comment