For two of my classes, I have to do work in a lab. The first lab class is an individual project. My partner and I meet with a professor on campus and do work for their lab. We chose to work on a project that uses acoustic levitation. Basically, there is an apparatus that produces very high frequency sound waves. With the use of a reflector, a standing wave is created with several nodes. Water droplets can be injected in these nodes to make water float. Therefore, sound waves can be used to make water float! It is a very cool project. My group’s goal is to find the correct frequency for various temperatures that will create nodes to make the levitation possible. Although this project is ideally very interesting, the implementation is not. The apparatus is very finicky. The reflector does not stay still and the temperature is never constant. There are also many variables, so it is difficult to establish concrete parameters. This makes the research very frustrating. However, we finally made some progress this week! After several weeks of working, we finally got our first measurement of a temperature. Hopefully this will give us headway to find the measurements for the rest of the temperatures.
For the other lab class, we do a different lab every week. We work with many interesting devices in several mechanical engineering fields. Mostly, we have been working with fluid dynamics and thermodynamics projects because this is a big area of study at this university. The lab setup is similar to the one in the United States. There is a TA that explains how to do the project and goes over the prelab papers that we received. The lab and calculations take a few hours. Then afterwards, we have to hand in a lab report or present a presentation about the lab. It is not too hard since we have a group of five people. The main difference is that the labs are much cooler than the ones at home. We work with big devices that are similar to those used in the field. For instance, we worked with several heat exchangers and a structured packed column for hydrodynamics. Overall, the labs are very interesting.
The attached picture is a water droplet being floating due to acoustic levitation.