Huge progress in the lab today. The last month or two have been filled with a whole lot of calibrating, adjusting, wiring….
The rock and ice mechanics lab at Lamont-Doherty is led by PIs Heather Savage, Christine McCarthy and Ben Holtzman. We are in the process of growing our lab and building our experimental program. Along with a team of postdocs, undergrads, grads, and longtime staff engineer Ted, we are rehabilitating and revamping some of the old equipment and building new rigs for exciting new experiments on both rock and ice. You can follow along with our progress here.
Thursday, 19 February 2015
One of the important parts of any laboratory study is the preparation of samples. Currently we are focusing on the fabrication of rectangular polycrystalline ice samples that we will use in the ice friction experiments. Mike will also be using them in his senior thesis project. He will expose the samples of so-called "standard ice" to various temperature pulses and characterize how they respond. Scientists over the last few decades have perfected a method for making standard ice, although in all the previous cases they made cylinders, so we are doing something a little new. I previously reported on the rectangular die that we built. Well that has gone through a few changes, including a gasketed top that screws down to prevent leakage at the top. Plus, silicone sealant has been placed at all the seams and long risers were put on the top ports…
The result is this fully dense rectangle of crystalline ice. Here Mike is taking a slice with a wood saw so that we can take a closer look and see how we did.
He'll be imaging the samples with the microscope we have in the cold room and then analyzing the images for things like grain growth, porosity, fracturing, etc. Take special note of what he's wearing. After one day in the cold room, he knew there had to be a better way. He came back the next day with an old plastic hazmat suit that he'd rigged up with a blowdryer to make this custom warm suit. I've got an order in for a second!