It’s hard to believe that we are just past the halfway mark of our internship experience! With work and the weekend trips, the days and weeks have really flown by without me realizing. I was finally able to test the units on the Instron this past week. Starting this process was difficult because there is no existing test method for the particular joint I am testing. There was a base test method that we used to get everything set up, but it was up to me (with my coworker’s advice) to determine the best way to test the joint based off of the similar existing method. It took a lot of trial and error, but we were able to come up with a more characteristic method for this joint. From the data collected, I performed basic statistics on MiniTab to analyze the data. MiniTab is similar to Excel, but MiniTab is easier to use for statistical analysis because you can perform basic statistical calculations (mean, standard deviation, etc.) with the click of a button rather than having to do all the calculations manually. Although these summary statistics are not very significant because the sample sizes of each trial test method were small, it is still helpful to have some preliminary numbers as a baseline for future testing.
There is still more testing to be done before a test method can be finalized, but I have completed step one in the process of joint characterization and coming up with a test method. Moving forward, there are ISO testing regulations that need to be consulted when coming up with this method, so the next steps for me with this assignment are to build more units (waiting for materials to come in), read over the testing standards that exist to ensure we are following regulations, and test the new units to gather more data. I am learning a lot about what it takes to get things done at a large company that has regimented regulatory processes for pretty much everything, and this knowledge will be useful regardless of whether I end up working at a small or large company.
This weekend’s trip was to La Fortuna, where we visited Arenal Volcano National Park, Baldi Hot Springs, and La Fortuna waterfall. We didn’t get to see much of Arenal because it was very cloudy, and unlike at Irazu, the clouds did not budge. We did, however, hike through the muddy rainforest to get to a viewpoint. It wasn’t until about ¾ of the way into our 3-hour hike that we realized we took the scenic route (literally and figuratively), but the hike was cool because we were literally in the middle of the rainforest going up a volcano. We visited Baldi Hot Springs afterwards, which was a relaxing resort experience to soothe our tired muscles from the hike. It was a great way to end a long day.
La Fortuna Waterfall concluded our trip. The “trail” down to the base of the waterfall was only 0.37 miles, but it was 500 steps down to the base and 500 steps back up. Talk about a workout! The view was totally worth it, though.