On the 3rd June 2014, the Secondary Two students made a trip to NTU for the course of 3 days, without any overnight stay, unlike the previous cohorts did. There were lectures which they sat through but the most exciting part of it was the Applied Project Challenge, where students were given the chance to venture into their most favoured areas, be it in Arts, Sciences (Engineering etc) or ICT.
For today’s journalism update, it will be focused on Project 8, which is the Tensile Testing of Engineering Materials, Scanning of the Electron Microscope, as well as Composite Material Processing. In the first half of the day, we went through a briefing conducted by our teacher mentor, Professor Tan Lay Poh. She told us more about materials in our everyday lives, including composites, sports materials, nano materials, bio-materials and many others! Other than that, she gave a short explanation of how NTU's Engineering and Material Science school came to what it is today. Lastly, she talked about the itinerary, as well as the Professors who would be conducting the experiments with us. We then split up into our various groups.
Our first activity was the tensile testing of engineering materials. It was conducted in the Undergraduates Lab and we were guided by Professor Huang Jing Feng. He was an engineer and walked us through the basics of engineering materials. Other than that, through the slides, he mentioned several terms and graphs (which we had to take note of when testing). After that, we started on the activity! First of all, we tested for aluminium, PS, then PP (Polypropylene). We had to set up the experiment via the computer, as well as screw and clam the specimen into the machine. Aluminium took 1.5 min to break while PS took 45 sec to break whereas PP did not break! In conclusion, PP was the most ductile material, while Aluminium was the most brittle. PS was slightly less brittle than Aluminium. We had a really fun time playing around with the materials and their properties!
Now moving on to the second activity, “Composite Material Processing”. Thereafter, we went for the next activity, which was 'Composite Material Processing'. As we sat through the screening of the slides, we had gotten a better understanding of composites and what they are used for in our daily lives. In this activity, we had the chance to fabricate the composite materials. We had to mix the epoxy and harder to form a sticky substance, that would actually allow the fabrics to stick to each other. After that, we started forming up the materials, stacking them one by one and gluing the cloths (either black or white). We had a fun time and the composite materials would be heated up, returned to us tomorrow to keep!
Lastly, we went for a tour around the labs! We looked at the actual chromatography machines and the engineers at work. Other than that, we were introduced to the many projects that NTU has worked on over the years, inventions were also showcased, which inspired and shocked us as young teenagers (18 years to 21 years) were capable of creating this.
That marks the end of 3rd June 2014, but wait, there’s more! On the 4th June, we continued onto our projects and finished up our activities. Our last and final activity was the “Scanning of the Electron Microscope”. From the start we went to the Undergraduates Lab, to sit through a lecture regarding the Scanning Electron Microscope component. They told us that scanning the electron microscope was a complicated process (you need to vent the machine, then evacuate it). Electron microscopes were actually invented because light microscopes could not magnify up to a certain extent (like to the specimen's body parts etc) Anyway, as we did the experiment, we scanned the specimens of a sponge, a mosquito and an insect. Their intricate pictures were really cool and every part of them was so focused and magnified (as seen by the computer interlinked with the machine). Afterwards, we then worked on our presentations, compiling the information and details over the past day. Our presentation included our findings, what we learnt and what we did. Once we had added in all the details, we split up the parts and rehearsed. It was a rather fun and enjoyable time. Although our presentation had over 20 slides, we spent hard work on it and hoped for the best project award. In the end, after relentless times of presenting, it paid off as we knew what to say during the presentation process and how to engage the crowd. The other groups then presented their learning experiences at NTU. In the end, there was a clear victor. It was from group 4. The other groups then cheered for group 4 as they needed a lot of encouragement for tomorrow’s closing ceremony presentation.
Now moving on to the 5th June 2014. Students gathered at NTU’s Lecture Theatre and sat for the plenary session which talked about 3D-Printing. It gave us an in-sight on what 3D-Printing can print (ranging from clothes to food etc) and how the procedure is like. Other than that, Mr Phua (from NTU), also gave us a brief history of NTU and its progress over the past few years. They have made significant improvement throughout the years!
After that, the closing ceremony commenced and all the 9 project groups began to present their learning experiences and what they did over the past few days. It was truly enriching as we got to hear what they did and some of the groups even had a live demonstration for us! Once Group 9 had finished presenting, the awards were given out to the respective recipients and we were all requested to go outside for a group photo to commemorate our wonderful experience in NTU.
Overall, this was what happened throughout the three days. The experience that the students shared was truly enriching and they have gained more knowledge and lifelong skills that would aid them in their future endeavours.