Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Chemical Engineers

Skills to bring back to Rot.2

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As excited I am to return to Infineum for rotation, I’ve learned life skills that will help me to contribute even more to the company when I return as a Co-op intern this summer. Through working with my lab buddy and my boss, I’ve learned many necessary tools. At this moment I don’t know what my assignment is going to be and who my boss is going to be yet. But I’ll update y’all once I found out.

H_302832Throughout working with lab equipment, I have developed problem solving skills. The more issues I encounter with equipment, the further I expand these skills. During one of the studies, it turned out that the predetermined filtration column could not adequately filter out the undesired compound out of the solution. Hence, my boss and I experimented with the available filtration setup options. There were four different options, each varying in combinations of column length and size, resulting in different filtration qualities. I ran the samples through each column and collected the filtrates. To determine the quality of the filtration, I sent the filtrates through analytical equipment and see which one matches the best with our expected results. Finally, the crisis was solved; I have chosen the most desirable filtration option.

However, another problem rose up with excessive sediment congesting the column. I would either have to wait till eternity for the liquid to pass through or I must think of another way. After consulting with my colleagues, I borrowed one of my co-workers’ invention. It involved gently applying nitrogen gas with a self-made adapter on top of the column to create pressure to push the liquid through. However, I improved upon his little adapter invention because I had to physically stand there and hold the adapter the entire time. I put together a few keg clamps so it supports itself along with the column. It seemed be quite an eventful experience, but I was able to successful obtain the results at the end.

Another major problem I encountered was that the titration equipment was not cooperating with me; it appeared to be generating random curves on the graph. After carefully reviewing the situation, I concluded that the titrant was contaminated. However, I had only been exposed to this equipment once before, but I had a general knowledge of the titrating concept. Relying on my memory and common sense, I flushed out the old contaminated system entirely and started everything afresh. I began preparing fresh titrants and hooking up tubes to their correct position in the system. Fortunately, the titration equipment is functioning again. I also became a certified titration operator, and later I became certified trainee in standard operating procedures for other equipment as well. This allows me to include the equipment in my resume which will help me in the future when recruiting with other company in similar industries.

It’s these the problem solving thinking that helped me to move on. The issue is going to be different each time. But by applying the same reasoning and analytical approach, the problem can be solved more easily. I think I still have got a little bit of that in me when I return. However, there’s still a lot to work on and many areas to get better at for me.

 

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Author: Jerry Jin

Hello, My name is Jerry Jin. I'm a senior at Lehigh University pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. I'm from Allentown, PA, but I was born in Shanghai, China. I moved here when I was fourteen years old. I'm currently the secretary for Southeast Asia at Lehigh Club, and treasurer for SASE. I'm also on the Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee Team and I enjoy being spontaneous.

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