Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Achievements

16 May 2012


  • What did you achieve by completing this project? When answering this question, consider both personal and academic development.
  • Caffeine Extraction: We have learned more about the extraction of the solvents in the tea, called solvent extraction, and we have also learned about a technique of filtration, called Büchner filtration.
    Fastest Ball: I think my group and I have learnt that each and everyone of us have different methods to solving the same problem and we can use that to our advantage when studying academic subjects and this way we would also have a lesser chance of missing out things when we revise.

  • Post photographs and videos that you recorded during the project here.
  • Caffeine Extraction: 
    An IR machine's wavelength graph of one of our caffeine samples
    A packet of the caffeine itself, in a solid powder form
    Fastest Ball: 
    A photo of the ball rolling down the track

    A video of one of our test runs.

  • Describe how the design of your experiment or the design of your product allowed you to achieve the projects desired outcomes.
  • Caffeine Extraction: The equipment had used vacuum in order to speed up the processes that would normally take longer, thus making it much more effective. For example, for the Büchner filtration, vacuum was used to pull the boiled tea with calcium carbonate powder through the filter funnel, which without vacuum, would be much slower and use gravity instead, and as such, making the entire process much more effective and time-efficient.
    Fastest Ball: The reason our experiment was a success was because we positioned the ramp in the optimum configuration so that the desired amount of kinetic energy is obtained and the minimum amount of energy is lost upon contact with the horizontal ramp.

  • Identify possible limitations (restrictions) to your project. When answering this question, consider the design of your experiment or the design of your product.
  • Caffeine Extraction: When dichloromethane accidentally comes in contact with our bare skin, it would cause some harmful effects, and this could possibly limit our movements since the lab coat sleeves, when some people's arms are bent, the sleeves would pull back, exposing the wrists, which are now unprotected, and thus, that person's movements would be slower and more cautious, since they would not want to harm themselves, thus limiting movement altogether.
    Fastest Ball: One of the limitations of this challenge is that the ball (which is moving at a relatively high speed of 1.6m/s) will hit a wooden block at the end of the track. This makes the ball (which could also be covered in oil) bounce of into random directions and might hit someone or something and cause injuries or damage.

  • Suggest possible improvements that could be made in order to minimize the limitations that you have identified.
  • Caffeine Extraction: Perhaps there could be some extra item for you to put on your wrists to cover it up, or the gloves that are provided could have a longer wrist area, which could then cover the wrist area up.
    Fastest Ball: To counter the problem mentioned above, I suggest that the wooden block be changed with one made of sponge or a similar material as these materials are more flexible and more shock absorbing. Thus, there is a less likely chance that the ball will derail and hit someone or something.

    Caffeine Extraction done by: Nathaniel and Isaac
    Fastest Ball done by: Yong Hong


    16 May 2012


    Read the introduction, objectives and theoretical background to the project and then answer the following questions:
    • What main theory or concept is the project based on?
    Caffeine Extraction: In the technique of solvent extraction, the theory is that organic compounds would more likely be soluble in organic solvents, while polar materials would more likely be soluble in polar solvents. Another concept would be the density of different materials, for example, the water, which was less dense than the mixture of caffeine and dichloromethane, was on a layer totally separate and on top of the mixture of caffeine and dichloromethane.
    Fastest Ball: The theory involved in this challenge is physics’ law of conservation of energy, which is the theory that energy is converted from one from to another (i.e the ball takes converts gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy as it rolls down the ramp). 
    • What do you already know about this theory or concept?
    Caffeine Extraction: We know that should a liquid be less dense than another liquid, it would float above the denser liquid, which is basically the concept of density.
    Fastest Ball: We have already learnt about the law of conservation during physics, and know the general rules behind it.

    Caffeine extraction done by: Nathaniel and Isaac
    Fastest Ball done by: Yong Hong


    16 May 2012


  • What does the group need to accomplish by the end of the project?
  • Caffeine Extraction: To successfully extract pure caffeine from the 10 tea bags that were provided, the caffeine being a solid powder.
    Fastest Ball: To find out the fastest time the ball can reach the end of the track, we had to use trial and error to find out the optimal configuration of height and eliminate the configurations that were not effective. They made the challenge harder by adding that in the competition rounds, we also had to find the correct configurations for the ramp as they would have one round without oil and one round with the track oiled.
  • How will you know whether or not your project has been successful? 
  • Caffeine Extraction: We would know should firstly be a green solid powder, and secondly, when run through an IR machine, the wavelengths that are recorded down from it are the same as the wavelengths recorded from a sample of pure caffeine, and if they are the same, the end-product that we have gotten is pure caffeine, and without any impurities.
    Fastest Ball: As long as we reduce the timing of the ball reaching the end of the track (we managed to speed the ball up from 0.79 seconds to only that of 0.61 seconds), it would be successful.

    Caffeine Extraction done by: Nathaniel and Isaac
    Fastest Ball done by: Yong Hong

    Our Team

    Our team members are:
    Tay Yong Hong, Isaac Lim, Nathaniel Yeo.

    Our Project Supervisor is Mr Kenny Teoh