MidTerm Abstracts

Author: Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

Please post your abstract of your research here for your classmates to view and analyze in preparation for the MidTerm Oral Exam.

The abstract should be succinct, proofed, and between 200-300 words. Post your abstract here so other students may read it to prepare questions for your oral exam on January 21st.Your exam grade will be based on:

 1.) your written abstract
2.) your responses to student questions
3.) questions you ask other students

Use the following links and samples to assist in producing a high-quality abstract.

 Writing an abstract. Click here

 Practical Tips for Science Writing. Click here



Heavy Metal Bioaccumulation in Long Island Sound’s Great Meadows Marsh

Bioaccumulation of heavy metals is amplified with increased trophic levels. A variety of species from Long Island Sound’s Great Meadows Marsh were sampled for heavy metals through a metallothionine quantification protocol. Metallothionine is a universally heavy metal binding enzyme that catalyzes with heavy metals found in the organism. A mathematical model was developed to predict expected levels of heavy metals in higher trophic levels.

 The Effects of MTBE on Well Water in Stamford

 This project involved testing Stamford-area artesian wells for Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, or MTBE. MTBE is a substance added to gasoline in order to reduce tailpipe emissions and to increase gasoline octane ratings. MTBE gets into well water supplies by way of gasoline spills, gas-line leaks in the ground and by means of the natural emission of MTBE into the environment through automobile tailpipes.Samples were collected directly from faucets in homes mostly located in the 06903 and 06902 zip codes. The water samples were assayed for water hardness, alkalinity, pH and conductivity. In addition, samples were tested for traces of MTBE using GC-MS. Next, the sites were mapped using G.I.S software, and attempts were made to find correlation between the location of the sites and the human impact on the area surrounding the sites.

 Effects of Room Acoustics on the Generated Sounds of Percussion

This project is aimed towards the effects of various environments on percussion instruments’ sound and performance. Each environment exhibits reverb capabilities with various generated sounds of percussion. Each type of percussion instrument will display different decibel levels when played at various distances from a central location within the environment. Through the use of a Sound Level Meter and various analysis programs, both the decibel levels and effects of reverb of the marching snare drum, tenor drums, bass drums, and crash cymbals, will be tested and analyzed to determine which instrument creates the greatest levels for both reverb and decibel readings, as well as which environment is most conducive to high volumes and sound resonance.The results will be compared to existing data concerning the effects of decibel levels and reverb on the human ear. Hearing loss can result from extended exposure to high decibel levels, and through the comparison, determining the safest environment for playing percussion instruments will be possible.


12 Responses to “MidTerm Abstracts”

  1. David S.+ Says:

    Production of Microdiesel via Genetically Engineered Microorganisms.

    Microdiesel is becoming more and more popular because of its environmental benefits and oil fueling high prices and unavailability. This project is aimed toward producing Microdiesel as a multiuse fuel; these uses include home heating systems and variety of automobiles. Methodology of producing fuel includes transesterification of triacylglycerols from plant oils, yielding monoalkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids with short-chain alcohols such as fatty acid methyl esters and fatty acid ethyl esters(FAEE’s). Transesterfication is the reaction of a fat or oil with an alcohol to form esters and glycerol. Esters are the product of a reaction between an acid and an alcohol with elimination of water. One of the main hurdles with microdiesel is the amount of crops needed to be produced. If microdiesel was used world wide crop production would have to quadruple.

  2. Dylan S. Says:

    Fabrication, Characterization, and Microwave Properties of Custom Elastomer-Encased Metals

    Metal, when coming in contact with a microwave, will spark. This problem occurs in everyday life when someone tries to put a non-microwave-proof utensil into a microwave oven, but not many people know when they put a bag of popcorn into a microwave oven they are actually heating metal that is injected into the paper of the bag. The companies that produced the bag had to have coated the metal in something to prevent the microwaves from coming in contact with the metal. In this experiment the metal is going to be coated in polyurethane, an elastomer with a property of absorbing microwaves. This property will allow the metal to conduct the energy of the microwaves and transform that energy into heat energy; this from of energy can be adapted to be used to coat metals that might come in contact with a microwave. To test the effectiveness of the metal in the microwave a form of taking temperature had to be established, taking the temperature of the air surrounding the metal is not reliable, so another method has to be used. In this experiment water is used to conduct the heat, and the change of temperature over a set amount of time in a microwave oven will prove the effectiveness of the metal. The metal can be arranged in different shapes to also test effectiveness.

  3. Gannon F. Says:

    Using Piezoelectric Crystals as an Alternative Energy Source

    This project deals with using piezoelectric crystals to create a form of alternative energy. In certain environments that are characterized by high sound pressure levels (such as concert halls, subway tunnels/stations, etc.), piezoelectric sound panels could be installed as an acoustic to electrical energy converter. Piezoelectric materials are sensitive to mechanical energy, such as tension and compression, as well as acoustic energy. The same piezoelectric panel concept could be applied to schools, offices, and other environments that are susceptible to various forms of mechanical energy. Thus far in the project, Rochelle salt crystals have been grown, using sodium bitartrate and and sodium carbonate. Once grown, the crystals were tested for piezoelectric properties. The test consisted of connecting the crystal to an oscilloscope and applying pressure. When pressure is applied, the oscilloscope should have produced a reading, showing that the piezoelectric effect worked, and how much voltage it created. The test did not work, however, because the Rochelle salt crystals were very weak, and fractured easily. After the failed measurement, quartz crystals were tested. Though they are physically much stronger, they still did not produce any results. After additional research, it was discovered that the crystals must be polarized. Polarization of crystals generally involves subjecting them to an electrical or magnetic field, though more research is needed. Once the process of polarization has been done, the crystal should inherit ferroelectric properties and will be ready for another set of additional tests.

  4. Charlie W. Says:

    Time Release Strategy for Capsaicin-Infused Alginate Beads

    The main purpose of this project is to create a method in which alginate beads infused with capsaicin would release the capsaicin at certain times. Capsaicin is the substance found in hot peppers that causes a burning sensation when in contact with sensory neurons. This capsaicin was then chemically bonded with alginate beads. Alginate beads are simply beads made from a reaction between sodium alginate and calcium chloride mixed with water. The beads would then be taken and placed into a High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). This machine will be used to determine the amount of capsaicin that is diffusing out of the beads and also to determine the strength of the capsaicin being used. The whole purpose of all of this is to create a method in which only a few alginate beads would release the capsaicin onto a person’s skin at a time, giving a time release kind of effect. One of the main problems with soothing creams is the fact that a person has to apply it more then once. With a method like this, a person would possible have to only apply it once and the formula would do the rest, letting out a certain amount of capsaicin every so often. There are no specifics yet on exact timing or things like that but the methodology will still be the same.

  5. John K Says:

    Fuel contamination has been a major concern of the world since fuel was first discovered 1858. Gas stations distribute millions of gallons of gasoline and diesel in their lifetime. The fuel tanks are buried underground and are left there until there are concerns of fuel leeching, then the tanks are dug up and removed. The problem with this is the fact that the tank may leak prematurely. There are two gas stations, an abandoned one and a one that is currently in use. The Little River runs directly behind both of these gas stations. The soil is tested and compared to the standard amount of hydrocarbons that should be in the river. Then a special type of clay called an Organoclay is used to absorb the hydrocarbons. The organoclay has stretches out and has polar attributes to have the hydrocarbons attach to it. This is a possible way to remove the harmful fuel leaks from the river and to prevent harm to the wildlife that drink or live in the water.

  6. Tyler W. Says:

    Design and Construction of a Liquid Computer Cooling System Using Sodium Nitrate Solution as a Heat Transfer Fluid

    A computer’s central processing unit generates varying amounts of heat, depending on the frequency of ticks that its internal clock is set to run. Some computer users will increase the frequency of these ticks, which are the time reference used for the central processing unit. This increase in frequency leads to an increased amount of heat output. A common method for quickly cooling these overheated computers is through the use of liquid cooling. Liquid cooling utilizes the conductive properties of certain liquids which act as a heat transfer fluid to transfer the processor’s heat output into a stream of liquid, from which it is removed completely from the system via diffusion. Water is a common heat transfer fluid, but is not as efficient as other alternatives. By adding sodium nitrate to water, the fluid’s level of conductivity and its boiling point are both raised, allowing the system to more effectively cool a computer that is producing greater amounts of heat. In this project, a computer has been built which will run a liquid cooling system. This system will use three different heat transfer fluids: water, Paratherm NF (a commercial alternative), and the sodium nitrate solution. The computer will be set to a higher frequency of ticks, and will be asked to perform certain tasks. Throughout the testing, the decibel level of noise output will be recorded, along with the heat of the system. Whichever session (whether it be the water session, Paratherm NF, or sodium nitrate) has the lowest output in both categories will be deemed the most efficient and most effective heat transfer fluid.

  7. Dan Spicer Says:

    This project is aimed at resolving resistance to fluid movement in the gas diffusion layer of Proton Exchange Membrane, or PEM, Fuel Cells. PEM Fuel Cells use a Nafion membrane for the reaction that creates water as a byproduct in order to create energy. The water created in the reaction of H+ ions, electrons, and oxygen ions creates water in vapor form. When condensing, the water flash freezes in cold weather, and occupies space within the gas diffusion layer, resisting movement of oxygen, and causing the fuel cell to be less efficient. The fuel is to be tested using a voltmeter that will detect voltage output, resistance, and temperature of the circuit over an extended period of time, being attached to a Hoffman Electrolysis Apparatus for extended testing. After original testing, attempts will be made to create a process or device to relieve the fuel cell of excess water and ice in order to maximize efficiency. Determining a process to eliminate flash freezing ice in cold weather and condensed water in regular temperatures and maximizing efficiency will allow for fuel cells to run longer on the same amount of fuel.

  8. Amanda W. Says:

    Extraction and Quantification of Bovine Growth Hormone

    How can bovine growth hormone be extracted and determined? To be able to determine whether or not beef contains bGH several techniques are used, electrophoresis, electrophoretic transfer, immunostaining, and densitometric quantitataion. First a sample of beef is prepared, and is then placed into a polyacrylamide gel. Electrophoresis is performed at 40 volts for three hours. Following this the gel is removed and soaked in a transfer buffer, then a nitrocellulose membrane is placed on top of it and they are mounted between several pieces of wet filter paper, and refrigerated. The nitrocellulose membrane is blocked with gelatin, and rinsed with milk. An anti- bGH polyclonal, used as the primary antibody, is incubated over night with the membrane, and then rinsed with PBS tween. The membrane is then incubated over night with rabbit igG, used as the secondary anti-body, and then rinsed with the PBS tween again. Membranes are then developed using alkaline phosphatase. Photographs are taken throughout the process to catalogue the process. Depending if the original beef sample contained bGH the membrane will have changed in appearance. This procedure can be used to determine whether or not Americas beef supply contains bGH. This is useful because bGH is beginning to show to have ill effects on humans.

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