Individual Reflections - Cheng Shu Yu Mavis


What interests you about this project?

The distillation process and the practical applications of the distillation column had initially interest me. The project title was about the control and operation of the column and thus made me feel that we can pick up knowledge about distillation which normally students do not get to be exposed to a in dept showing of the actual distillation plant.

What do you want to learn by doing this project?

I want to know and learn more about how the distillation column works in a real factory in the industrial world. I would want to be able to pick up skills and key concepts that drives these machinery to enable me to apply in my work. I want to understand how is distillation able to separate different components and the complex understanding that creates the idea of distillation. I want to polish and practise on my practical motor skills.

What questions do you have about this project?

- What other methods are their to conduct distillation?

- How is distillation consider as biomedical engineering?

- What other methods are than distillation are there to separate solutions?

- How is the diagram of the material constructed and how do we read it ?

- How is the distillation process explained using equations and formulas?

- How can the distillation process be connected and constructed to a graph?

- What is reflux ratio?

- How do you identify if the solution is suitable for distillation.

- How do you read and recognised the symbols and signs in the formulas/equations used the calculation process of distillation?

What do you personally want to have achieved by the end of this project?

Personally, I would want to experience a once in a life time exposure to a industrial based science practical and do well by immersing myself into the whole process of hands on learning. I would like to complete the task successfully with a ideal end product that meets the requirements of the tasks. This would pay off my efforts of the three days in NTU, making excellent use of learning experience.

I would want to increase my exposure about chemistry and physics for the engineering part of the project. Another personal self-encouragement was to not commit any serious mistake during the practical process and complete the experiments independently.


Plenary Sessions [Day 1]

My Key Learning points From Each Session...

Plenary Session by Professor Kerry Sieh

I felt that Professor Kerry Sieh was very interesting and engaging to make the research project presentation seems more interesting. His presentation was simple and filled with visuals that brings the message to all students very clearly, helping us understand each aspect of the presentation. He usually fils his slides with one picture, just like the famous saying, a picture tells a thousand words, each slide tells and explains something about the research. Thus, each picture explains further and it seems like a story telling session.

On par with our learning of Geography in Integrated Humanities, we have basic background knowledge about his purpose in the research and he fills us of the in dept. part of the research. I enjoyed this first plenary session alot because it has enlightened and enable me to understand the basics procedures of how research is done to predict and understand earthquakes and tsunamis. I am more aware of how meaningful and the strong impact of the geologists’ job can help to save people. They are working furiously against time to predict and study the next disaster to happen. I think that it was a great experience for us to listen to Professor Kerry Sieh’s sharing on his job.

He also mentioned about encouraging us to do something we love. I had also believed in that because doing something of our interest will enable us to enjoy our work while completing it making the job a enriching but not a tedious and frustrated one. In some circumstance, we cannot enable everything to be of our ideal choice so we have to accept our circumstances. Only when we accept our environment would we learn to appreciate and make the best out of it.

IT For Animation by Professor Seah Hock Soon

I had particularly like the video of the traditional 2D animation production process of the Silver Moon. It was a breath-taking insight to traditional animation production as I have never seen anything quite like that before. It was very new and different to me. I would like to try the coloring process and it was very amazing to see colors slowly filling up the black and white drawing of the frame. I felt that it was pretty cool for the laser like machine to cut out the drawn character by slipping the entire drawing into the machine. I had never thought that you could cut out something with laser so it was quite phenomenal.  

I had gained alot of knowledge on movie making using IT. I was quite fascinated with the fact that Maths can be used in creating special effects and to construct lines to draw for animation.

Innovative Breakthroughs in Nano-Science and Nano - Technology by Professor Ma Jan

I understood alot about nano particles and the practical applications of it. Nano technology seems to be a very useful and practical to our daily lives. It is interesting to know that humans can discover extremely small particles that are way beyond what the naked human eye and even a microscope could even detect. Even though nano particles are extremely tiny, they could even surpass the properties of some of the normal materials. For example, the Carbon Nano Tube is extremely light but it is as strong as steel.

New Questions...

New questions I have about this topics are...

Plenary Session 1

Are there any other methods to understand and forecast earthquakes and tsunamis happenings?

Why is it that Singapore does not have any natural disaster happening?

How is the conclusion from the research being communicated with the related authorities to help the world?

Plenary Session 2

How is the formula translated into lines and special effects as the professor mentioned?

Is there any other medium to translate into special effects?

How is the budget of producing a animation production distributed ?

Is programming involved in creating a animation?

Plenary Session 3

What is defence-technology about?

What is the difference between Nano-technology and Bio-technology?

How is Nano materials first discovered?

When is nano-technology in application harmful to humans or the environment?


My Personal Reflection / Accomplishments [Day 3]

1. Discuss how the project has deepened your understanding and broadened your awareness of the selected discipline.

The project has allowed me to explore the advanced and more complicated equipments of the project like the fractional distillation machine with many sections. Interacting with the professors and NTU students has allowed me to understand and as well as discovered many insights to the practical applications of this project like the refinery factories and many other companies who deal with distillation as a industrial process.

2. What do you now understand about this discipline that you are unaware of at the beginning?
I have learnt about the basic principle that drives the whole distillation process as well as the terms of the different areas in the discipline. Distillation that are linear as a one and go process is only a basic process with only what that is distilled at the other end will be the end product. This distillation process that we will be looking into in this laboratory experience was much more complicated and there were more parts and stages to it as the name suggest - this was a continuous distillation.

We learnt more about the different parts of the entire operating machine.

I asked alot of questions and I got to understand more into the practical applications. Actually, distillation not only applies in the oil refinery industry but it can be used in making perfume, food processing and to separate the different components in the air.

The professor was really patient and actually explained and got us thinking about the abnormal conditions. What would happen when something is turned to the extreme or the other way instead of the right way?

I got to know more in dept of distillation and experiment with the different elements to allow myself to grasp hold of the discipline better.

Besides the principals and knowledge that I have acquired from the applied challenge project interaction, I have also understand that spoon-feeding and equipped us with everything does not result in a better way of understanding but to let us start off unsure, full of curiosity. This enables us to evoke our thinking brain and question whatever we see, the uncertain. This was a good way of learning and appreciated that the professor had chosen this method for us to explore the project.

3. Describe how you can connect what you have learned from doing this project to what you are learning in school?

This project mainly focuses on the distillation process which is similar to what we have learnt in secondary one chemistry on the different separation techniques. Similarly, I realised that what we had learnt in our secondary or even primary school years are actually the most primary principals which serve as the foundation for further studies like in university. Such examples was the simplified distillation process that we learnt in sec 1 and the continuous distillation column. The continuous distillation column actually works on the same basic principals of the simple version of the distillation process that we learnt previously in sec 1.

I was amazed that such complicated process actually works on fundamentals like what we learnt but further studies just meant to broaden and introduce our learning deeper into the field of studying.

4. Describe how you can apply what you have learned from doing this project.

I can create more questions about the topic or something we have learnt to question the obvious. Sometimes we had just only learnt the surface and below this thin surface, there are many more to be discovered by us. By questioning further we can understand and discover something more to the topic that actually enable us to understand the certain topic more wholesomely. Questioning will enable the gears in our brains to turn and trigger deeper thinking.

From this I can apply the work of questioning while revising my work and during consultation sessions with teachers.

5. At the end of the project, some new questions I have included ...

- What is the limit of the reflux ratio?
- Can radioactive liquids be distillate?
- How different is the MaCabe-Thiele Method from the other methods to distillation?
- What does the Equilibrium Data for Ethanol-Water System means? 

6. My Aspirations...  

After the exclusive experience of working in a university laboratory and interacting with the student leaders, lab technician and professor, it has enlightened me alot about university life and work. I really appreciate SST for giving us tis opportunity to actually understand and feel about university life and work. It is that we always imagine what it is like in university and many of the times we are still unable to understand fully what is it like in university. I had interacted with some of the student leaders and it had provided me with many information about the many miscellaneous things about university.

I found myself to be quite interested in Biological Science and Biomedical Engineering. I would always thought that my future occupation would be those common professions like scientist, author, singer, etc. After this programme, I realised that the future is not as direct as what I had thought of. I am quite interested in research and I can pursue that as my further studies.

I aspire to work harder towards my goal by conquering each milestone in my studies and finally reaching the working society to fulfill my dreams. 

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