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Student Reports
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Report #8: building prototypes, continued, and summary of student reports on Dr. Pocius's lecture

Report prepared by MMA engineers:

  • 2/C Maguire
  • 3/C McQueen
  • 2/C Pike
  • 3/C Sunde
  • UCCRTS technician: Bodio

On October 23rd, the cadets and technicians were asked to design a prototype applicator that Alvin could use. My cadet and I used two zip locked baggies. In the corners of bag number one and bag number two, we placed one-to-one ratio of both parts A and B epoxy 326, making sure not to mix them up. Then we placed a paper plate on the lab table where we mixed both A + B epoxy together with a wooden popsicle stick. After we produced a mixture, we applied it on a black rubber stopper and placed the two bags corners of epoxy A and epoxy B on top. (Editor's query: Is the bottom of the stopper coated with mixed epoxy and the top of the stopper has the two baggies? Or is the mixed epoxy used to hold the baggies in place?)

Answer: I believe this was Cadet Holcroft's project but, as I remember, the bottom of the stopper was covered in mixed epoxy so as to attach the baggies to it.

Syringes used to dispense equal amounts of part A and part B of PSI-326 epoxy

We designed a either a land (?) or hand adhesive marker applicator. After we (built it), we let it set up in chilled (sea) water. The temperature of the chilled water was 2 degrees Celcius and the sea water temperature outside was 15 degrees Celcius. We placed a rock in the ice water. We left it under the water for a significant amount of time before we took out the rock with both epoxies in the chilled water. (Editor's query: Is this a rock with a rubber stopper epoxied to it and also two baggies with part A and part B separated to see if the viscosity of part A and part B has changed when chilled? Cadet engineer: Please send Dr. Sichel a sketch to add to your technician's report.)

In conclusion, we found out our (adhesive) did not work (in chilled seawater). We felt the problem was due to the temperaure of the seawater because, according to my cadet, it worked last week (at ambient temperature). The other cold water tests performed today include:

  1. PSI 326 part A+B will not saturate a sponge in cold water.
  2. Pre-loaded A+ B epoxy (components) in air mixed okay in cold water. details: The project that Cadet Pike and Cadet Maguire designed involved a square of heavy aluminum and two sponges. The sponges where affixed to the aluminum using the smart glue. The sponges where then coated with the A and B parts. The apparatus is then pressed onto the rock and rotated to mix the epoxy. In the ambient water test the glue was placed on the sponges and immediately pressed onto the rock. This test was successful. The A and B parts mixed and cured, securing the apparatus to the rock. In the cold water test sea water was chilled to 2 C. The A and B parts where applied and the apparatus was immersed and allowed to chill for 15 min. After it was chilled the apparatus was pressed and rotated onto the rock. This test was a success as the glue was still able to function after being chilled for 15 min.
  3. Cadet 3/C Sunde's 1st adhesive test on the rock worked. (Editor's note: The epoxy was mixed underwater, by placing a spoonful of part A and a spoonful of part B separately on the submerged rock surface, and then mixing them.) When the test was repeated, on a fresh spoonful of part A and part B, the next test didn't work. (Possible) reasons (for the test failure) are: unknown fresh batch epoxy for each. (Editor's comment: I am not sure what you mean here.)
  4. Test of silicone caulking adhesive-- 2nd test adhesive to rock. (Editor's query: Did the silicone caulk work under water? Did it set up and harden?)
  5. 2-syringe applicator didn't work in the cold water. Pre-loading the tube(syringe?) room temperature... can't pre-mix...because the epoxy would begin to set-up... works well in cold water.

Last Thursday's guest speaker, in my opinion, was very beneficial. I wish that he had come earlier in the project. If he had, I think that it would have given more direction to the problem at hand and given us a better understanding of what was happening.

The information that I gained both proved and disproved some of my thoughts on the outcome of our experiments. I am also eager to get back into the lab and use this new knowledge.

This week a 3M representative came in to speak to us about the chemistry involved in making adhesives. I found the speaker to be very informative. I realized just how complicated the process really is in making different types of adhesives. It was a good supplement to what we are learning about in class. I also learned that using a silicone based adhesive might be better suited for underwater use.

This past Thursday, Dr. Pocius spoke on basic adhesive theory and science. I explained to him the problem my group was having mixing and applying the adhesive completely underwater. As you know, the epoxy (PSI-326, "Smart Glue") will set and cure underwater. However, as the class period goes on, it becomes harder to apply. Dr. Pocius explained that most likely, excluding human error, it is setting up faster due to the cold water, and other conditions. I wish to experiment with this further and find out how much the problem is due to human error, and how much it is due to the conditions.