Polymer Journal #4

If you want to create something, working through the engineering process is vital. The engineering process is first defining the problem, then developing solutions, then optimizing prototypes. However, it isn’t just a three step process. You go through it many times, and in the end, you will have a solution to your goal.

The first step that we took when we were given the design goal “something wearable with another purpose” was narrowing the goal down. Starting is the hardest part, but once we narrowed this goal down to “elbow and knee pads that will keep you safe” we had kick started a momentum that drove us through until the end.

The next step we took was developing solutions to this goal. We used background knowledge from previous slime test observations to come up with a base polymer (boogers) and other substances we wanted to add (PVA solution and glue, borax, cornstarch, water, guar gum). With this information, we started to test ratios of substance to substance to find a perfect ratio that will give us a polymer that will fit our goal. This took the most time and effort. We had our first ratio, and of course it wasn’t perfect. This meant that we were back to the drawing board, finding the problem with our polymer and then fixing it by adding more of the substance that would give that polymer the property it was missing. Of course this would also counter act some properties therefore we would need to optimize it again, but eventually, we were able to come up with a polymer that worked. It was a cycle of finding the problem and finding solution, but being engineers we “never gave up, never surrendered”.

This is a summary of the many times we had to repeat the engineering process and an example of difficulties we had to overcome.

This is a summary of the many times we had to repeat the engineering process and an example of difficulties we had to overcome.

Through all of this, we learned many things. Without passion for the outcome of our polymer, we would never have gotten this far, we would have given up the first problem we came across. With this we understood the true importance of passion. In broader terms, we learned what it was like being an engineer and all the difficulty it bared.


The Path To Forgetting

A quick glance at the book I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier-you think to yourself, what does this mean? I Am the Cheese? Why would the author title a book like this? There are many theories, too many to count. What I believe is that the book is titled I Am the Cheese because “the cheese stands alone” and then Adam says himself that he is “The Cheese”. Adam is alone, he is an orphan, and he has lost his mind. The book is about how he becomes “The Cheese” and it all comes together in the ending.

Endings are the most important pieces to a book, they are what we remember and what influence us the most. The theme of the book is included in the ending, a major factor to what makes an exceptional book. The themes of I Am the Cheese are identity is more important that just your name and background, memory is of great significance, and lies are very powerful. How are these themes uncovered? The resolution of the book.

There is a saying that it isn’t the destination that counts, rather the journey, but I do not believe that this saying is true. The destination is the most important, because in the destination you can see a reflection of the journey that one has taken to get there. The ending of I Am the Cheese is very confusing, especially because the three narrative strands are combined into one. Adam with Brint is the present, and Adam on his bike and Adam in Monument is all in his head. Adam never actually got on his bike and rode to Rutterburg, it was just a mental trip that keeps repeating after Adam’s sanity flew away subsequent to his final “therapy” session with Brint. “[T:] Who did you see? [A:] Gray pants. Him…[T:] Who? Who? You must not retreat now. You must not withdraw.” (Cormier 221). The bullies, Whipper and his two friends Dobbie and Lewis who tried to steal his parcel back in the narrative where Adam is running away are revealed to also be patients at the “haven for troubled people”. “They are always playing pranks. Once when I was riding my bike around the grounds-Dr. Dupont allows me to do this if I promise not to leave the place-Whipper and his friends chased me and knocked me off and I went flying into a ditch.” (Cormier 225) With this sentence all the pieces are put together. The reader can recall this exact experience from the narrative where Adam was riding his bike, and we notice that all of this was just happening inside the “haven for troubled people”. All of Adam’s stories in Monument were flashbacks.

Back to the present, with Brint, things were also all lies. Brint was not a psychologist. Adam had suspicions that Brint was not really there to help him several times, but he let them pass with Brint’s believable excuses. Maybe Adam finds out that Brint really isn’t a psychologist, maybe he doesn’t, but the reader finds out. However, by the time that this secret is leaked to the reader Adam is already insane, whether or not he knows that he will never get his life back is all to him. Brint in reality is working for the same organization that Grey was working for, and Grey in reality was also lying and ended up helping orchestrate the deaths of the Farmers (excluding Adam). Everything in Adam’s life is revealed to be a lie. The hotel that Adam was going to in his “trip” had been out of service for years even though he was sure that he and his parents had stayed there the last summer. The package was not for his father; it was a stuffed animal that belonged to him when he was younger.

Most mind blowing of all, Adam Farmer was a lie: he was Paul Delmonte. When Adam is told this however, he can’t find a way to accept it. He had lived as Adam Farmer for as long as he can remember and thus it had become him. He didn’t know anything about Paul Delmonte, and this is when he learns that identity is more than just your name and background. His name and background had been altered at an early state that his identity was not fully created, so he knows himself as Adam Farmer. The identity of Paul Delmonte is empty, because it had not been lived in for a long time. Identity is history, your identity is your past. With the knowledge that Adam Farmer did not exist Adam/Paul also understands just how powerful lies can be. So powerful that they can create new lives. Although this was quite a breakthrough at the time, it is nothing compared to what the reader finds out at the very end of the book. When the reader finds out that Brint is also part of a corrupt organization the reader truly understands the devastating power of lies. “Subject A’s confinement be continued until termination procedures are approved; or (b) Subject A’s condition be sustained until Subject A obliterates.” (Cormier 233). Adam is to either be killed or left there until he dies. This shows just how cold blooded Brint and his organization is to “subjects” that are no longer of use to them. Shortly after learning that He is Paul Delmonte, in the other narrative strand with Brint and the interrogations, Adam realizes how empty he feels without his memories. “I don’t know. There are so many things I don’t know.” (Cormier 35).

In the end, the story always manages to circle back to the “farmer and the dell”, a song that to the reader, was just a song that the Farmer family liked to sing together in the beginning of the story, but is revealed that it is actually a big symbol for Adam.


The farmer in the dell,

The farmer in the dell,

Heigh-ho, the merry-o,

The farmer in the dell…


The child takes the cat,

The child takes the cat,

Heigh-ho, the merry-o,

The child takes the cat…


The cat takes the rat,

The cat takes the rat,

Heigh-ho, the merry-o,

The cat takes the rat…


The rat takes the cheese,

The rat takes the cheese,

Heigh-ho, the merry-o,

The rat takes the cheese…


The cheese stands alone,

The cheese stands alone,

Heigh-ho, the merry-o,

The cheese stands alone.


Throughout the story, only the first verse of the song has been shared to the reader as small hints of what is to come. In the end when we finally see the big picture do we know the whole song and see the picture with its frame; the meaning of the title: I Am the Cheese.

Searching Until You Know Too Much

Music can tell a story. This story; the story of Adam Farmer and Paul Delmonte.

Anything by Hedley (clean version) this song is about how you have a whole life ahead of you and you can do whatever you want with it. This was Adam’s life before all of the complications. “Everybody said boy, don’t go any higher, uh uh, forget that, I can do anything”.

Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys this is when Adam first starts to doubt things. “do I wanna know? If this feeling flows both ways?” Although at first glance it may seem like the song is about a person, but “you” could really by anything. Adam notices strange things, but wonders if he really wants to know more about it. Should he just let it go? Will he regret finding whatever he might find? Is this just him being too suspicious of normal acts? He doesn’t know what to do. “This man’s just visiting and when my father told him your family was also from Rawlings…Then he couldn’t remember any Farmers being in Rawlings…Then I rationalized. I told myself that the editor from Rawlings had been mistaken.” (Cormier 60). There have been suspicious acts but Adam just lets them fly, he doesn’t know if he wants to know the truth behind this. 

Smoke and Mirrors by Imagine Dragons this song captivates the moment of when Adam has no idea what is going on and is really confused. “All I believe is it a dream that comes crashing down on me, all that I hope, is it just smoke and mirrors?”. He’s hoping that all of what he is experiencing is “smoke and mirrors” because he won’t be able to deal with it if it’s reality.

Happy by Marina and the Diamonds this song focuses on when Adam is having flashbacks back to when his life was simple and carefree (or so he thought). “Couldn’t relax, couldn’t sit back and let the sunlight in my lap. I sang a hymn to bring me peace. And then it came, a melody.” This song could be used in several places in the book; the most connecting is when he is getting pieces of his memory back. His therapist is always asking him questions that could help him regain his memory, but Adam always has troubles, only remembering things in bits and pieces. This time, just like a snap of the fingers, Adam is able to remember so much. His life was really pleasant, but notice that the mood of the song seems sad even though the lyrics are happy. This is because under the surface, Adam knows that he will never get that life back and he is very downcast.

Black Sun by Death Cab for Cutie this song talks about how fair things can be cruel, and this is what Adam is feeling when he notices that his parents are hiding something from him. Of course, when you don’t know what it is you expect the worst, and that is what Adam is doing. “How could something so fair be so cruel. When this black sun revolved around you.”.

Friction by Imagine Dragons this song is for the moment when Adam can’t take it anymore; he can’t stand that his parents are not telling him the whole truth, lying in his face, and not showing any sign of them ever going to tell him the truth. “You’re stuck in the middle of all irrelevance…you can’t fight the friction”. Adam is feeling irate at this moment.

Figure it Out by Royal Blood this song is for when the string has snapped and Adam is finally going to find answers for himself. He has been living, pretending to be oblivious to the things that are going on in his household and he is finally going to stop turning away from the secrets and facing them. “Nothing here to see. Just a kid like me. Trying to cut some teeth. Trying to figure it out.” He does some of his own detective work, snooping around and eavesdropping on conversations to find out why things are so secretive around him. The song is fast-paced, sort of in an angry tone; so is Adam. He’s vexed at his parents and needs to find out why his whole life has been a lie.

Don’t Wanna Fight by Alabama Shakes this song represents the moment when Adam is feeling so alone and has given up on things. He has been looking for the answers for a while, but isn’t getting anywhere good, he wants to turn to someone and spill out all of his worries and problems, but he cannot because part of him wants to keep all of this a secret, like his parents are keeping it a secret from him. “Living ain’t no fun. The constant dedication…Why can’t I catch my breath? I’m gonna work myself to death. I don’t wanna fight no more” Adam/Paul has finally snapped. He knows the truth, because he dug too deep, but now that he knows it he has so much responsibility, a weight too heavy for his shoulders to burden. This song captures the complete essence of his current mood. He doesn’t want to fight anymore but he has to. 

Fairly Local by Twenty-One Pilots this song is about the singer’s split personality (from verse 1) “I’m evil to the core. What I shouldn’t do I will…Tomorrow I’ll keep a beat. And repeat yesterday’s dance” (from verse 2) “I’m not evil to the core. What I shouldn’t do I will fight…Tomorrow I’ll switch the beat. To avoid yesterday’s dance.” On one side he is self loathing, while on the other he is trying to change. This is Paul’s situation after he learned the truth. His father had told him everything (or what he thought was everything…), and now he saw everything in a new way. As if that wasn’t enough, he didn’t even know who he was anymore. Was he Adam, or was he Paul? “his father’s voice holding him captive, enthralled-and yet a small part of him was isolated and alone, a part that was not Adam Farmer any longer but Paul Delmonte.” (Cormier 136). He doesn’t know who he is anymore, and doubts everything. He doubts his therapist/phycologist, people he interacts with, and even complete strangers. He gets is own “never-knows” and is scared of practically everything.

Run by AWOLNATION this song is for when Adam/Paul chooses to run away from his problems. “I am a human being capable of doing terrible things”. He is in a very unstable state, his intentions being to go to an inn that closed down many years ago. “I am riding a bicycle and I am on Route 31 in Monument, Massachusetts, on my way to Rutterburg, Vermont” (Cormier 234) He keeps pedaling, pedaling further and further from his agony.


Creative Commons Image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eliotstyle/3249693629/ 

Image by eliot.

-Some rights reserved-

Between The Lines

“I am riding the bicycle and I am on Route 31 in Monument, Massachusetts, on my way to Rutterburg, Vermont, and I’m pedaling furiously because this is an old-fashioned bike, no speeds, no fenders, only the warped tires and the brakes that don’t always work and the handlebars with cracked rubber grips to steer with.” (Cormier 1)

The first line in the book already sets the mood for the story. It is confusing, yet you keep going to find out where it will lead you. You get an immediate sensation that this main character is running away from something-what of, you do not know yet. In this first line we are also introduced to two places: Monument, Massachusetts and Rutterburg, Vermont. Two normal cities for a normal character; it’s all too normal. Robert Cormier does a fantastic job making the reader doubt anything that can be doubted, which is practically everything. However, Rutterberg and Monument are only part of the setting. The surroundings play a much larger role than the physical location itself.

Adam Farmer is not a very social person so people do not play a major in the mood, all except Amy Hertz, Mr. Grey, Adam’s parents, Brint, and Paul. Amy Hertz adds a fun touch to the mood, a sense of normal, good life that is brought to the bleak and monotonous life that Adam leads. “She [Amy] was lightning, he was a cloud. Gray cloud.” (Cormier 55). Mr. Grey, however, played a completely different role in the creation of the mood of the story. “Mr. Grey had been a presence in our lives, like part of the scenery, part of the house-like the furniture. There was nothing to be suspicious about, until I became suspicious of everything.” (Cormier 121). Mr. Grey darkened the mood, very shady he was. He seemed to be at the center of suspiciousness, of his fake life. Adam’s parents were very secretive as well. They seem very normal on the outside, but there is always a hint of them being a little too normal, especially in Adam’s drastically changing life. Brint helps Adam, he contributes kindness and patience to the mood, however there are times when the reader doubts Brint. He seems to want to know only sections of Adam’s life, not really helping Adam but rather helping himself. This puts in a false sense of security to the mood. Finally, there is Paul. Paul makes Adam’s life so confusing, so dangerous, so out of his hands. He does the same thing to the mood. Confusing the reader, adding a sense of danger, but the kind that gets you sitting on the edge of your seat wanting to know more.

Setting is also time. I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier has three different time frames, one with Adam riding his bicycle, one where Brint is helping Adam regain his memory, and one with flashbacks of Adam’s previous encounters. However, these time frames are all in the same era. The story takes place in a time that could be today. Although there still is war these days, they are not massive and affecting the whole world. Most of the conflict is underground and secret. What does this make of the mood? Grey. Brighter on the surface, but darker underneath. “Would losing be that terrible?” (Cormier 63). The greyscale symbolizes a mood of the lack of hope, happiness, and all that people live for, but just enough that most people still choose to keep their lives.

Back to physical setting-Massachusetts and Vermont. States with fair population density; sparser in the areas where the two states meet. To the mood, this puts a more laid back feel. A story set in a densely populated city can paint a busy, uneasy, and fast paced picture. On the other hand, a sparsely populated city or town can create a more laid back and calm image. Massachusetts is not just a random state chosen by Cormier. Massachusetts is usually cloudy, often raining to accompany the cloudiness. This immediately sets the tone as gloomy. Additionally, Massachusetts is humid and chilly. Humidity is uncomfortable and so is chilliness. Uncomfortable as it is, but not so much that you would speak out. This is Adam’s everyday life. He is not exactly happy with his life, but he doesn’t have a problem with it either. Part of the story is about Adam going to Vermont. Vermont is a change from Massachusetts. It is colder there, but this is still a better change because it is more different. It is cold, and cold enough to complain and say so. Vermont is also less cloudy than Massachusetts, symbolizing that his thoughts will be more clear, his life simpler and happy. This also makes the mood happier and simpler.

In short, the mood of I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier is greatly influenced by the setting of the story; concluding with a gloomy mood trying to find its way to a brighter and happier one.

Polymer Journal #3

Our polymer is easily mouldable

Our polymer is easily moldable

Our polymer is bouncy

Our polymer is bouncy

Our polymer is stretchy

Our polymer is stretchy

Hard impact will conclude in minimal pain

Hard impact will conclude in minimal pain

Perfection takes time and effort. To make the perfect polymer that will fit our design goal took many tries and prototypes, and finally, we were able to create the perfect one. In our final product, you can see the impact that all the previous prototypes made.

Prototype 1: This was the result of combining the perfect borax/PVA ratio and the perfect water/cornstarch/guar gum ratio. It was very slimy and chunky and in no way would we be able to use it as an elbow or knee pad. We couldn’t test how bouncy or stretchy it was because it wouldn’t even stay in our hands. However, in the next class our prototype was more solid and we were able to hold it in our hands. It wasn’t very bouncy but when we put it on our elbow and put force into it, the pain that we felt from hitting our elbow was very minimal. This was good, but there were still properties of this polymer we thought we could change. These properties were bounciness and the ability to stay on something for a longer amount of time.

Prototype 2: We took some of our first prototype and added more cornstarch and PVA glue. This made it bouncier, drier, stretchier, and it was able to stay on an object for a longer period of time. This prototype on its own met our design goal, but we didn’t stop until we created the best possible polymer that would meet our design goal.

Prototype 3: Our third polymer worked the best. It was the second prototype with added cornstarch and water. This made it dryer so that it didn’t stick to your hands. This prototype was perfect; bouncy, stretchy, moldable, stayed put on an object, and with it on it didn’t hurt when there was a heavy impact.

Prototype 4: This polymer was super slime mixed with the third prototype. We did this to try and make the previous even more bouncy, but it did not work. This prototype was stretchy and bouncy, did not stick to your hand, but prototype 3 was more stretchy and more bouncy.

Ultimately, we decided to use our 3rd prototype as our final product because it best met our design goals. To make the 3rd prototype you combine in this order, in a large container, mixing after each ingredient:

58.4g cornstarch

90ml water

8.2g glue

6g guar gum

Our Final Product

Our Final Product


Polymer Journal #2

The polymers that we experimented all had their unique properties. Ooblek was liquid-like when there was no pressure against it and with pressure it was solid- this is the property we favor (although it makes things messy). It does not bounce nor stretch. Super slime was the only transparent-ish slime. It was similar to silicon, and was both bouncy and stretchy. It can be easily molded, and will rip if you quickly pull it. If you dropped super slime from 30cm above a surface it would bounce back 10cm. Boogers and gloop were similar to super slime. However, they were not transparent-ish. Boogers bounce back 13cm if they are dropped from 30cm and gloop bounces back 15cm. Gloop is different from boogers and super slime as it is not easily molded nor does it stretch easily. Because of these properties we will not use gloop as our base, instead we will use Boogers because it it stretchy, fairly solid, and bouncy (we will also mix it with the properties of ooblek for better performance).

There are 5 materials that we can make our polymer from: borax (increases bounce but decreases stretch), PVA solution/glue (makes the polymer sticky, stretchy and less gloopy), solid cornstarch (thickens the polymer), liquid starch (which makes the slime less stringy), and guar gum (adds elastic/rubbery properties to the slime). In conclusion, we’re planning on using borax, PVA solution/glue, solid cornstarch, and guar gum in our polymer.

We know what the borax and the PVA solution/glue will counteract each other with the elasticity property, so in our first test we will find the perfect ratio of PVA solution/glue to borax that will provide optimum elasticity. Then, we will test what the ratios of water to cornstarch to guar gum will be. Finally, we will put the two most successful solutions together and see if they provide us with the properties we want. If that doesn’t


This is a push pull force gauge

work, then we will add the polymer that will add the property we need more of.

To examine the effectiveness of our polymer, we will wrap it around a specified object to examine if it will stay in place, then we will use a push pull force gauge to measure a certain amount of force inputted into the polymer and how is outputted. Finally, we will test our polymer on a human even though it’s inaccurate.

Image credits:


Polymer Journal #1

0000126_super-sale-green-boogersOur project prompt was to create a polymer that was wearable and an additional function. This was a wide topic, so we first narrowed down the question to creating a wearable polymer that would make your life safer. We agreed that our target market audience would be children the ages 6-14. The most common way that this audience is injured is by falling. Our polymer will solve this problem by decreasing the amount of pain when you fall. When falling, the elbow and knee are the most common places to feel the impact, so our polymer will support these body parts so that when you land on your elbow or knee, you will firsolid-liquid-fifth-slidest fall on the polymer and it will absorb the impact, allowing you go get back up and continue with your day without a scratch. Properties in favor for the base will be being able to keep a shape, take on impact and not crumble, and be comfortable on skin. As a conclusion, ooblek and boogers were promising contestants. Ooblek hardens on impact which will prevent the skin having direct contact with the place the impact is coming from, however, too much of this characteristic could be useless as it would just mean a hard layer on top of the skin, not really decreasing the pain. Ooblek is also liquid-like when no force is applied which is not good for our polymer which needs to be able to stay on someones elbow or knee. Boogers are very elastic, bouncy, and can be easily molded. Additionally, they absorb body heat-this means by putting it in a refrigerator then using it as a safety pad, not only does it soften the fall, but also lowers the change of heatstroke and is comfortable to wear because it won’t be hot and sweaty. However, when a quick force is applied, a hole is made. All the characteristics of boogers are great except for that, so we are thinking of adding cornstarch, which was what made ooblek harden on impact, to the booger solution. Hopefully, with the right ratios, the polymer will be able to have all of our wanted characteristics. In the current market, many safety pads are sold, but none of them are comfortable, lightweight, or can cool you down-this is what will make our polymer unique.

Image notes:

The green slime is a booger and the pink slime is ooblek

Functions of Boogers and Ooblek Graph

1=No, 2=Yes

Image credits:

Summarized into a powerpoint:


Welcome Your Last Breaths

Death, Be Not Proud-John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;

For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.

Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well

And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Death is what people are most scared of. No matter what you do, you can’t escape death, nor will you understand what it will be like before experiencing it. Will it be painful? Will it be slow? Where will it be? When will it be? Death seems to control our lives in the way that we don’t want it to come; it is something that we all have in common.

Death, Be Not Proud by John Donne is a poem about not fearing death. Many people fear death while John Donne is saying that death is a petty thing to fear. We are slaves to fate and chance and can die by many different things. Afterwards, however, death will be gone and we will be in charge of our own lives, no longer slaves to fate and chance. You should welcome your last breaths as it is the start of a new beginning.

Parabolic Sights

Final Cut Popcorn Parabola (Flipped)

In math class, you are always told that math surrounds you, that you will need it in your everyday life. Yes, that is true, but we only believed that we would use math when we were in grocery stores calculating costs. There is so much more math out in the world. Parabolas, symmetrical open plane curves formed by the intersection of a cone with a plane parallel to its side. It seems as though they can only be found on graphs yes? Read the full definition:

parabola |pəˈrabələ|

noun (pl. parabolas or parabolae |-lē| )

a symmetrical open plane curve formed by the intersection of a cone with a plane parallel to its side. The path of a projectile under the influence of gravity ideally follows a curve of this shape.

The New Oxford American Dictionary proves that parabolas can be found in reality, by literally gives an example of a parabola in reality. There are many examples of parabolas in reality; throwing a ball, diving into the pool, sprinklers, etc. However, because these actually exist, they are all restricted. It is impossible for something to be extending for ever and ever. Therefore, there are restrictions to the parabola/graph. The vertical restrictions is the range and the horizontal restrictions is the domain.

The example I found to be surrounding us is a popcorn popping. How many times have you seen the making of popcorn? You have probably seen this many times, and noticed that the popcorn does not go straight up and then straight up, but rather goes up at an angle and goes back down at an angle. This is a parabola.

Popcorn popping is an example of a negative parabola, because it goes up then down, not down then up. The vertex is the maximum (highest point) of the parabola. The details of this parabola are in the video.

To graph the parabola, I used logger pro. Logger Pro was a great program to get the job done as it was easy to insert the video into the program, then analyze it.

Essential knowledge that was needed during this project was the differences and similarities of vertex form and standard form for parabolic equations.

Vertex form equation: y=a(x-h)^2+k

Standard form equation: y=ax^2+bx+c

Vertex form is useful when using the graphing method to solve the parabola because it automatically tells you the vertex of the parabola (h, k). However, for other methods, the standard form is more useful. Like explained in the video, the values of a, b, and c contribute to the whereabouts of the vertex, the steepness of the parabola, the hight of the parabola, and the y intercept.