Concluding thoughts on summer research of auto paints

Step four of my summer research plan is to conclude what I’ve learned over the summer and plan for the coming semester. I’ve learned a lot this summer about car paints and what research in a chemistry lab is all about. I learned that auto paints are way more complicated then they appear and that auto paints have evolved just as cars have evolved over time. During the last couple weeks, I discovered through some literature review a test for a base knowledge of what auto paint is made up of. This test also proved to be a helpful extraction agent and gave some distinctive spectra when paired with SERS. When I head back to the lab next semester I will further explore this method of extraction and see if I can truly identify and reproduce the characteristic spectra for the manufacturer auto paints. Once I have finished developing the method for the manufacturer paints, I will finally move on to paint samples straight from a car. I can’t wait to get back into the lab and continue exploring new ideas and developing experimental methods.

Musings on Thomas Edison and Auto Paint Analysis

Step three of my summer research plan is to identify a characteristic spectrum for each manufacturer auto paint sample. We have two different auto paints samples one from Honda and the other from Toyota. To begin the initial testing I performed a normal Raman scan without silver nanoparticles of each paint. One was found to be normal Raman active and the other was not. Normal Raman active means that without silver nanoparticles I was able to identify a characteristic spectrum. After the normal Raman scans, I performed a simple SERS test on each paint. A simple SERS test is done by only applying silver nanoparticles to the paint sample. This yielded some results but not as distinctive of a characteristic spectrum as I would like. In order to get a more characteristic spectrum, I started to develop an extraction method. The extraction method, in theory, would coax out the chromophore or pigment into the solvent making it easier to see a characteristic spectrum with SERS. However, this has not been the case. Auto paint matrixes are extremely complex with multiple additives, binders, resin, and pigments. Due to their complexity I have not been able to fully extract the chromophore, but I have been able to slowly breaking down the matrix with some simple solvents. This has allowed me to see some characteristic spectrum for the two paints, but again not to the distinctiveness that we would like. Research is a complicated process. I often like to take comfort in Thomas Edison’s wise words that he said when he was inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I have not failed either. I’ve just found five ways that won’t extract a paint pigment.

The End… At least until Orientation is Over

This weekend I was in D.C. and completed my final two oral histories for the summer. I spoke with two gay recent alumni and was interested to here how much our campus, state, and country have changed in the last 4-10 years. For this final blog post I thought I would post one of the articles I found as I started to go through the Richmond Afro-American.

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My First Week in Patna (Before Heading Off to the Communities!) – Blog Post #3

Continuing to post all my blogs 🙂 The following blog post was about my first week in Patna, before I headed off to the communities in Purnea – one of the three districts where Sashakt is taking place. I was able to spend the week speaking with Pathfinder’s Program Coordinator in Delhi to learn more about Sashakt and ask the questions I had, use Pathfinder’s office to learn about its past programs, use Arun Sir’s documents and additional pdfs I had downloaded before arriving in Patna to learn about India’s health infrastructure, Vikas Mitras, and receive more insight into the Mahadalit community.

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