Currently, I am conducting research concerning harvesting mechanical energy from an acoustic snare drum and converting that energy into electrical potential via the piezoelectric effect. This research is being conducted under the advisement of Dr. Colin Reagle from George Mason University’s Mechanical Engineering Department.
Weekly progress is typically split into three main categories: experimentation, data analysis, and data interpretation. I work anywhere from 10 to 20 hours a week split across four days. One day of the week for about 4 hours, I set up the experiment I need for data acquisition or repeat a procedure from the previous week if my methods needed to be change or if I needed more data for analysis. I typically spend Friday afternoons analyzing the data that was taking and doing any necessary calculations. Saturday and Sunday evenings, I take time to check all of my work to see if there are any discrepancies or if I can move forward.
One of the main things I learned this week is to have patience and to be flexible. It seemed that many times throughout my research process, I would have a good understanding of what is going on but my data would raise more questions than answers. There have been so many times where I would expect certain results and the total opposite would come about. The good thing is I can always simply state what happens and accept the fact that there are certain answers I won’t be able to obtain until after I finish the long term project.