Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
Lu Zhou spent a whole day reading theses. Liu Rui was already snoring when Lu Zhou climbed into bed.
The next day, Lu Zhou woke up early.
He went to the cafeteria and got two buns before he went to the laboratory on time.
When he arrived, he saw that Brother Qian and Liu Bo had already started working around the instrument.
Their task today was to draw the FTIR spectrum of each sample by Fourier infrared spectroscopy and to record the absorption peaks of various functional groups and chemical bonds in the early stage hydration reaction of carbon nanotube modified samples.
Our research is mainly aimed at enhancing the solubility of carbon nanotubes in cement and improving the bonding between carbon nanotubes and matrix materials, said Brother Qian as he introduced it to Lu Zhou while conducting the experiments. He continued, But were not optimistic at the progress of the research. Professor Li should have told you that we have encountered a bottleneck.
Lu Zhou, who was watching next to him, asked, Where is the specific problem?
The problem is the data we calculated using the Fourier infrared analyzer. Look here, said Brother Qian as he pointed to the FTIR image that was just pointed out. He then asked, What do you see?
Lu Zhou resisted the urge to consume general points as he stared at the still warm A4 paper for a long time. He suddenly recalled what he learned from the theses that he read yesterday. He felt something and saw something was wrong with the image.
Is the characteristic peak of the No. 2 cement sample abnormal? asked Lu Zhou in an uncertain tone.
Right, but not accurate, said Brother Qian as he nodded. He pointed out several places on the FTIR image and continued, No. 2 sample is a cement sample incorporatingCNTs1and is tested according to mechanical properties. As a result, our 2 samples performed quite well in the compressive capacity test, but the performance in the tensile test was unsatisfactory. According to the characteristic peak data at 6-10h time period on the FTIR image, we initially thought that the CNTs material hindered the polymerization process of the silicon tetrahedron in the Calcium-Silicate-Hydrate gel, which leads to the formation of pores inside the cement material in the later stage of the hydration reaction.
Where is the problem then? asked Lu Zhou as he wondered. He then continued, I mean Since we know the reason why the tensile strength of the No. 2 sample is not satisfactory, can we solve it?
Its not that simple, answered Brother Qian with a blank expression. He continued, Weve tried many methods, including the use of melamine as a nitrogen precursor, and the ball-milling of carbon nanotubes under vacuum. The surface of the carbon nanotubes was functionally modified But from the tensile test data for samples No. 27 and No. 28, the results were equally as bad.
Lu Zhou mostly understood what was going on, but he did not have a solution.
He nodded and asked, What do you want me to do?
Brother Qian, In order to find out the solution, weve already done a lot of experiments. The funding is still enough for us to do a couple more experiments. But a few days ago, we learned that the material science laboratory is going to take over our laboratories, and well have to stop our experiment soon.
Brother Qian paused for a second and sighed before he continued.
We need an expert who is proficient in mathematics. Preferably proficient in functional analysis and help us analyze these experimental data to see if we can find some valuable clues. It would be great if we could find how CNTs cement materials become affected by the aging hydration reaction. I have self-learned some functional analysis, but I still have no idea about how to analyze this data. I still have to entrust you experts for difficult calculations.
Just like how the mathematics department did not have a course for material physics, the applied physics department did not have a functional analysis course either. After all, the number of people who had double undergraduate degrees was a minority. Most of them took the necessary courses when they did their masters.
After thinking for a while, Lu Zhou said seriously, I cant guarantee that Ill succeed, but I can try When do you need the result?
The sooner the better. Its not like I cant wait but its best to be within three days, said Brother Qian after he gave some thought to it. He then continued, After three days, with or without results, I hope that you can at least give me a progress report.
Lu Zhou nodded and said, Ill try my best.
After Lu Zhou received the task from Brother Qian, he went to the library.
Although Liu Bo gave him a desk in the laboratory to work, it was too empty and cold in there.
Lu Zhou preferred the lively atmosphere in the library.
When he was sitting amongst other people that were studying, even if he wanted to procrastinate, he would feel guilty.
Also, the most important thing was
The library more or less reminded him of the feeling of being deep in concentration.
Lu Zhou walked into the printing room and printed all the necessary experimental data and theses onto A4 paper.
Laying out all of the necessary material on a study desk was a study habit of his.
Anyway, the printing could be reimbursed by the research fund.
Once Lu Zhou found a corner in the library, he sat down. He tapped his pen on a piece of draft paper and was ready to start writing.
Ten minutes had passed.
He was still sitting there in the same position without any movement.
Where should I begin?
Lu Zhous face was ugly.
If there was a fixed formula to use or even a clear goal, he could conceive where to begin. However, the situation was that the research animals in the lab did not find any problems, but they asked him to help them find the BUG.
He recalled what Brother Qian said.
Theres no way that I can solve this. Im going to be a skillful loser
Lu Zhou looked at the data and scratched his head.
Suddenly, he realized that this task was more difficult than he thought.
Just like what petrol was to a car, food was the substance that gave people energy.
Even a genius had to eat.
Lu Zhou sat at the library until twelve oclock where he stared at his empty draft paper and cursed. He threw the pen on the table and went to the cafeteria.
In the cafeteria, Lu Zhou bumped into Professor Tang. He took his food and sat across him.
When Professor Tang saw Lu Zhou, he smiled and asked, How are you feeling?
Its hard! A lot harder than pure mathematics problems, replied Lu Zhou.
Its supposed to be hard, said Professor Tang with a smile. He continued, Mathematics is a research tool. Since youre studying applied mathematics, there will be many opportunities for you to encounter similar projects in the future.
Professor, please, can you give me some ideas? asked Lu Zhou as he sighed.
I cant give you any ideas. Youve to come up with them yourself. I can give you a suggestion though, said Professor Tang as he laughed. He then said, Didnt you enter the mathematical modeling competition? Think of the feeling back then.
Lu Zhou raised his eyebrows and he went into deep thinking. He then shook his head and said, Its completely different. The reason why the aerospace problem could be turned into a mathematical problem was that it was ultimately a physics problem and there was a formula. Plus they gave me data
Its actually the same, said Professor Tang as he shook his head. He continued, Whether its the movement of a spacecraft, or the movement of particles, or the change of functional groups In terms of mathematics, its essentially the same. All the data hidden in the depths can be mined, and there are rules that can be calculated. Mathematical models can be built. I think you cant find it because youre not trying hard enough. Think more, observe more, I believe you can definitely discover the clues.
Lu Zhou began to think.
Professor Tang smiled at Lu Zhou and nodded.
This young man is worthy to be taught.