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.

Conclusion of the Summer and Looking towards the School Year

Sorry this is so late! Some personal things came up in the last week of research. But better late than never! 🙂

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Legacy. What is a Legacy?

Title: Legacy. What is a legacy?

 

As you probably know if you’ve read my previous blog posts, Charles Willson Peale was an American artist during and after the American Revolution. He is also an example of an artist who witnessed fading within his own paintings. In 1790, Peale revisited one of his paintings he’d made 15 years earlier. He noticed his reds had faded to cold black shadows and wrote in his journal “Had I used vermillion or light red, how much better these paintings would have been.” Three years later he advertised his paintings would no longer lose their brilliance.

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Tackling Art Samples

This summer I’m looking at Peale paintings but I’d only ever worked with references before this summer, never art samples. In order to become comfortable with them, I’ve looked at Dr. Wustholz’s old art samples from their first paper and found some interesting things: [Read more…]