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This will probably be the last lab I'll write about for now. The next one will be months from now after I've passed my chemistry licensure exam OwO
This is the last lab I had been to and I gotta say, it was honestly the worst of the worst! Even my school’s laboratory was far better despite the constant maintenance of most instruments, at least they’re relatively new. But back in this last lab, I worked with… Everything was from like 20-30 years ago! Those are all basically obsolete, basically almost useless!
I don’t even know where to start with how bad it was really bad. I think starting off with the methods would be good because the methods they used have never changed since the lab started the operation. Sure, it may have worked when it was first established but if you look at how good the method is now, it barely competes with the accuracy it should have now. Then the reagents too! They basically had any? They only had the most commonly used ones in even a high school lab. And to top it off, they had mercury, gallons of it! Yet the usage of such is already prohibited everywhere. But again, old methods that require ancient reagents the ancient people (the supervisor) loved so much.
I really couldn’t understand how they could afford to get mercury yet they couldn’t afford to get more ethanol, phosphate buffers, and other reagents that were always used up. And I do think it will remain a question to me, honestly.
The equipment really got me fuming though. And the laboratory design. It was just so chaotic despite the laboratory employing mostly engineers and chemists, yet these engineers can’t even come up with a more decent solution to something as basic as a sedimentation tank. These sedimentation tanks are needed so that the water is treated enough before going into the sewers yet there was nothing. Sometimes there would be asphalt and pain spillage because of how horrible that tank was designed. What’s worse is that the chemists there who try to come up with a more sustainable solution never get the changes they asked for. All the proposals instantly get trashed because it’s so expensive. They couldn’t understand that it’s just us trying to keep up with the times and the ISO standards. The chemists there never requested anything out of line and anything a standard lab shouldn’t have. But I seriously just don’t get the management of that place. It was a horrible lab with horrible management and extremely outdated everything.
I forgot what this one is called but it's my favorite OwO it tests for the asphalt's
flash point. so at a certain temperature, the asphalt just explodes and goes boom. This
is done to see if it's really asphalt. If the flash goes off at a lower temp, it just
means that the asphalt is contaminated or gasoline is mixed in with it (or diluted with
This is the extremely ancient hot plate that can only heat like 5-7 samples at a time
but the heat up time takes forever so we barely get anything done when we're on the
heating phase. So when we heat the samples, we also prep the new batch in hopes of
actually making a dent in our backlog
This is also one of the outdated equipment. The asphalt stretcher.
This measures how long the asphalt can be stretched (its ductility). I operated this
machine for a few months
This is a vicat needle. It's used as a penetrometer and you actually
just poke your sample with this needle. It measures how soft the material is
(usually used for cement and asphalt) and this is also the ancient version since
there's a more modern one
One of the outdated methods I was talking about. This is used for emulsified asphalt
but thye problem was that the method is so inaccurate and sa wasteful of time and
resources. That's why I had to make a different method while I was there
Honestly, some of the equipment I’ve used there were things I never have seen before. And I thought I already saw a lot because of the laboratory tours we went on while in my undergrad years. I also heard that the chemistry section head had to have some of the equipment built because the one the laboratory head bought was either bought without confirmation (so it was completely useless in the lab) or they bought the wrong size. The equipment we had to use really was one of the main reasons we had such a massive amount of backlogs.
There was more metal samples where the EOS machine was. usually there would barely be
any walking space because the entire floor would be lined with trays of metal to be
This was legit the amount of samples we had to stir. So imagine 50-70 samples a day
and each sample needs to be stirred for 5 minutes. And since we barely have time, we
just naturally learned how to start stirring more beakers at a time. It took me a
month to be able to stir at least 3 beakers per hand
Despite the extremely heavy workload, the people there really kind of helped me keep my sanity. I remember one time when we were busy rushing all the backlogs for September of last year, we had galactic mermaid on full blast, and honestly, the laboratory head almost fired us because she thought we were cussing her 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Luckily the laboratory head was the one who defended us (plus the lab head really can’t afford to lose the section head since he’s the only one that knows all the procedures and he’s the only staff capable of training new hires. Anyways, he resigned the same day I did anyways. And It was so bad ass because he just handed in his letter then left like that (well, I did too since I didn’t want to listen to what the dinosaur had to say)
This is what we call the gateway to hell because the room temp is around 60 deg celsius on a regular but inside those ovens, the temp is around 1000 - 1500 deg celsius. It's so hot that it can actually melt metal and cause spontaneous combustion to paper and wood