Weeks of 12/19-1/15

Hopefully everyone had a fun and restful winter break! Most teams have had a first meeting back by now, so I’m sharing updates from the past two weeks. In addition to tackling research again, most teams are hard at work preparing posters for the CCI Solar Annual Meeting on Jan 28 in Newport Beach. Congratulations to all the teams who were invited to participate based on their contributions to the Drive docs and blog comments! Keep up the great work and remember to check the comments for questions asked of your team that you can answer!

Alverno started up the new year with a plan to switch to an acidic electrolyte instead of the sodium hydroxide electrolyte. They prepared nickel nitrate plates for testing in both acidic and basic conditions. They used titanium dioxide paste as a “protective layer” at the base of the spots to protect from corrosion in hydrochloric acid. Looking forward to hearing more about this!

Beckman’s Group 1 found upon testing their .04 molarity of Iron(III) nitrate plate that it had a high concentration. Therefore, they decided to remake the .04 molarity of Iron (III) nitrate test plate. They made the whole solution again and spotted the solution onto the new plate. Group 2 ran two plates with the same materials (one UV treated and one non UV treated). The plate consisted of three different solutions: 0.03 M Ni (NO3)3, 0.03 M Al (NO3)3, and 0.03 M Fe(NO3)3. They also made a new sulfite electrolyte solution, Na2SO3, with remaining time. Group 3 tested the BHS 3-47 plate which consisted of different ratios (of?). They analyzed their results, finding out the averages and looking over the ratios. Group 4 tested the leftover Fe(NO3)3 plate from before winter break. While waiting for the computer, they made a new solution of 15 mL of .02 NaOH, Na2SO3, and different sodium sulfites. This solution was to be put in a big bowl for testing future plates. They also researched about crystal structures and hematites online.

Crescenta Valley made two plates using differing ratios of NiCl2, ZnCl2, and CoCl2. They used iron as a standard on four spots in the corner, and then spotted in a checkerboard pattern using the other three solutions (ratios of Ni:Zn:Co in 1:1:1, 1:1:2, 1:2:1, and 2:1:1 on one plate, ratios of Zn:Co in 1:1 on another). They also were able to print the 3D printed holder from Fairmont State (hooray! finally!) They haven’t been able to test it yet because of the assembly required, but hopefully it will be ready to test by next week.

Mayfield had a glitch with their computer log-in and were unable to collect data at the last meeting, but both SEA and RAM teams have several plates ready to test for next time. Team PEAK (formerly KEN) is doing more research on applying a negative bias voltage and what that means in terms of data collected with the SEAL kit.

Can’t wait to see all your posters in a couple weeks. Keep up the great work and remember to post weekly, comment and ask questions!



  1. Alverno team, why did you decide to switch to an acidic electrolyte?

  2. Alverno team, why did you decide to switch to an acidic electrolyte?

  3. Alverno: Which solution do you think will give you better results, the sodium hydroxide or the hydrochloric acid?


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