Engineering Project Journal #4

Below are some pictures of my final product. 

Explain how it didn’t  work using scientific terminology
There are two possible reasons for my not-working project being the way it is.  The first reason is that the motor did not have enough power to generate enough electricity. Because theoretically, if I turn the hand crank enough the kinetic energy is converted into an electric current in the dynamo, and the entire motor generates electricity. The electricity generated goes into the wires connected to the rectifier. Then it goes to the other side of the rectifier connected with the zener diode, resistor (the resistor and diode stop the electricity from going to the wrong way), and at last, it goes into the other two wires from the USB port. After the electricity goes into the wires of the USB port, the phone plugged in could be successfully charged. However that did not happen, upon further conversation with Mr.Costa it might be because I did not turn the motor enough so it didn’t generate enough electricity. One way for me to make the motor generate enough electricity is to just crank it at a really high speed for a long time, then maybe it can generate enough electricity. Sadly, that is not realistic because another suggested hypothesis is that this might not have happened only because I didn’t turn the motor enough, but because it just isn’t strong enough to charge the phone at the first place. A human arm was probably too weak to power the 12-volt motor. The second reason for my phone charger not working is probably because some parts of my wiring in the rectifier section is a little bit off. I might’ve soldered the zener diode and the resistor to the wrong wires and parts which resulted in random short circuits that stopped the system from working.

Explain the areas you were successful in the product/process
I feel personally successful in the aesthetics of this product. It is very neatly cut out and put together in a box. The dimensions are perfect and the boards match and fit with each other. All the important parts (the hand crank and the USB port) sticks out of the box and the rest of the messy wires are hidden. The box is definitely not a sore for the eye and I’m happy with it. I feel like I was also successful with the color I used for the box, it’s a plain simplistic white that is always classic and the color could be altered by the customer if they did not like it. It might not fit the definition of beautiful, but definitely acceptable and neat.
I also feel successful with the adjustments I made to my project which is first changing the material to a lighter one, then shrinking the dimensions and lastly substituting a long list of steps making a hand crank to using an already made hand-crank+ motor. My adjustment on decreasing the weight of the product really serves one of my first purposes of creating this product: making it easily portable. It is lighter than most of the power banks you use in real life. Secondly, it’s way smaller than the one created in the procedure, I shrank the size down to the smallest possible just because I didn’t want to make it unnecessarily big and takes up a lot of space. My last adjustment being successful also relates to my time management skills. Not only did I got an all-in-one packaged material that is originally made up from bits and pieces, but I also gained a lot of more time. This leads to the last thing I feel personally successful for: my time management skills. I had a really tight schedule as seen in journal 2. First I had China cup (I miss 1 class) and then I can only go to 1 workshops session due to basketball practice and JPAC. But I propelled myself to strictly follow my work schedule and even squeezed out a 2-hour workshop at the FAB lab the night before I left for JPAC. I even took my project with me to JPAC to finalize some things. At last, I was able to finish my product on time. One more thing I feel pretty successful about is that I ensured the safety of my product. The hand crank is plastic and does not transfer electricity. The point of the zener diode and the resistor is to prevent a short circuit or irregular electric currents going into the other side. The amount of volts generated is also strictly regulated by the resistor. I am happy that my product had no threat towards costumers.

Explain the areas you need to improve in the product/process
Just because I had some success in my product/process, it doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to improve on. I actually have a lot of improvements that I am willing to make the next time I work on a project like this. Firstly, I feel like next time I should really try to keep myself composed mentally before I partake in any hasty decisions. Because at the start of the project I kind of panicked because I didn’t have a lot of materials, before thoroughly checking if ISB has them I ordered them on Taobao. Later on, I found out ISB does have them and I had to ask for a refund. A calm and composed mindset is what I really need next time because it will help me in all kinds of projects and even in my life. Another area I would like to improve on is my wiring skills. When I wired my rectifier together I knew what I was doing. Mr.Beatty gave me a lot of help, but I feel like something has still gone wrong. Maybe it is because I lack basic knowledge of mechanics and I accidentally messed something up because there was probably a mistake in my wiring. I would really need and love to improve my knowledge on the output/input, negative and positive sides, ––––basically the entire spectrum of wiring things next time.

Explain the impact of this project on the environment and potential client/consumer.
My muscle powered phone charger could potentially have a lot of impact on the environment because of its source of energy being renewable energy. The key power to this phone charger is kinetic and mechanical energy. The kinetic energy of your arm moving (muscle power) is affecting the gear (mechanical energy) and that energy is converted into electricity throughout all the wires in the interior that finally charges the phone. The phone charger exists and works on its own without a plug-in board. Each plug-in board is made out of plastic and all kinds of chemicals, they all contribute to the trashcan after they can no longer be used. However, theoretically, the muscle powered phone charger would never run out of power because the power itself used to charge the phone is generated by the muscle power of the costumer. Furthermore, it also uses some fairly simple and fewer materials. The exterior and interior formation isn’t really complicated and does not require more than around 10 materials. The potential client of this product could be anyone! It could be for someone who wants to live a lifestyle with a bit more exercise in their life (charging up their phone whilst exercising their arm muscles). It could be for someone from a developing area with no stable electricity to plug their phone in and has to have an alternate plan. It could be for a backup product for any family in case a tornado, storm or snow cuts out the electricity in their home. All in all, this product is suitable for anyone.

Engineering Project Journal #3

January 15 & 17 2019

The process of my science project is going pretty well right now even though I’ve had some bumps along the road. Firstly I couldn’t really find a lot of the materials at ISB because they were pretty rare so I had to order on taobao, but then I did find it at ISB so I had to send my ordered items back. That was only a tiny minor setback but it made me realize one improvement I could make next time doing a project like this. That is to know for sure where I can get the materials before making hasty decisions. The first thing I did was I cut out my foam boards. I made an adjustment to the original length I got (the one that I have already decreased) after realizing that it would not fit the motor and the wires. The new dimensions of the box are:

10.5cm x 6cm

3cm x 6cm

10.5 x 3cm

Another improvement I made to my plan is my motor. According to the original procedure of my product, it requires you to create your own pulley, hand crank and gear motor from wood and plastic. However, whilst searching for those materials a design teacher gave me the feedback that ISB has a 12v motor with a hand crank itself that totally matches what I need (enough volts to power a phone) and saves a lot of time. I decided to use that to minimize the time I use since I’m missing a lot of classes because of China cup and JPAC. I tested the motor with a battery connector to make sure that it worked. I also tested out the USB port to make sure it works. Thankfully, the motor started moving when I tested it and the lightbulb connected to the USB port also lighted up when I tested it. This means my materials are fully functioning.

January 23 2019 at the fab lab:

Then I cut out all the boards and gathered my materials together for the further steps. To connect the zener diodes, resistors, wires, and the rectifier together was harder work than I thought it would be. I had to connect the resistor and zener diodes to the positive and negative sides of the rectifier, but I couldn’t find a single symbol on the rectifier. This was when my researching skills came into use and I searched up the model of the rectifier using the code on its back. I found a manual of it online and thankfully it had what I needed. After further confirming with  Mr.Beatty what output and input stand for, I was good to go.

After figuring out how everything works, all I needed to do was solder everything together. That’s exactly what I did and happily, it’s also one of the last steps of my phone charger’s procedure!

This is what the interior of my muscle powered phone charger looks like. 


After I got all the bits connected together I tried it out. Sadly, it did not work. After various plans of trying to revive it (later explained in the 4th  journal), I decided it was done for good.  I will explain the details of why my failure occurred in my next diary entry.

However, after looking at this half-made phone charger, I decided that I still have the obligation to make this aesthetically pleasing because it looks messy with all the wires hanging out. So, I used hot glue and finished the exterior of the phone charger. It still looks pretty decent and I’m grateful I got the measurements correct for the box.


Engineering Project Journal #2

This is the timeline I have decided for myself on this project.

Wednesday, Jan.9: Gather materials

Friday, Jan.11: x (China Cup)

Tuesday, Jan 15: Steps 8-20

Thursday, Jan 17: Steps 20-33

Thursday, Jan 17 afterschool: Steps 1-8 and adding some final touches.

Here is the model of the exterior of my product:

Here is the model of the interior of my product (Taken from original website):

Here is the procedure of my project (Taken from original website but slightly altered)

The mechanics of the muscle-powered works like this: You twist the crank that is connected to a 12V motor, and then the electricity generated by the motor is transferred to the wires of the USB port connected by a rectifier with one resistor and one zener diode on it. Then the USB port connected to the phone charges the phone.

Adjustments of the materials and the measurements had been used. I changed the material of the outer shell of the phone charger which was high-density foam boards to normal foamboards to decrease the weight of everything. Since the main aspect a portable phone charger should have is to be able to be carried easily. I also decreased the length of the foam boards to make it easier to carry around.

The Start of My Engineering Project

What is this engineering task?

This engineering task requires us to follow the design cycle and either design and create a toy that converts energy, take a renewable energy source & convert it to electrical energy, design and create a device that transfers energy or design and make a device that can be used to learn physics.

What are you thinking about doing? (This can be multiple ideas)

I incline to create an object that uses a renewable energy source and convert it into electrical energy. The renewable energy source I want to use is kinetic or mechanical energy. Here are some ideas I found online that is idealistic for me. The pictures below show two human-powered phone charger, and the third one is really interesting showing the process of extracting energy from garden weeds. These are all the ideas I like. The fourth idea uses the wind as the renewable energy and converts into electricity. The product is a portable wind generator that charges the phone. The last idea I found was a shaky leg power generator. It converts muscle power to electricity.

What are the pros/cons about those ideas?

A pro of the first idea is that its made from easily-retrieved materials that are common in our daily lives. This would make the collecting of my materials easy. Secondly, it uses mechanical energy which is the motor and the wheel, it’s really intriguing because wheels are really common in our lives and it’s fascinating to connect it to the idea of generating electricity. The cons are that even though the materials are relatively simple to find I don’t know if the schools have all kinds of modules, diodes, and connectors like this.

A pro of the second idea is that it seems even more simple than the first idea. It basically has the same concept but with fewer steps and materials required which is awesome. I still love how it used mechanical energy. A con is that the concern for the lack of materials at ISB is consistent.

The third idea has a really significant pro: it is really unique. After all the ideas I read through basically all consisting of electricity this one was in a whole other spectrum. However, the last idea has a long list of cons. Firstly it is winter in Beijing right now and I think all the weeds are dead. Secondly, the materials are really hard to find and professional, they also come in big sizes. Thirdly the instructions are also really professional and intricate, I feel like it will require a level of knowledge that is way higher than I am now.

The fourth idea also has the significant pro of needing a 3d printer and ISB has a 3d printer that I could maybe use. That decreases the process of me trying to find more materials. However a con is that along with it being easier to make using a 3d printer, it still requires a lot of professional materials.

The last idea is really cool because I feel like a lot of people has shaky legs (including myself) and if I were to create it, it would be really beneficial and useful to others. However, I read through the materials list and it requires more than 7 professional materials that I’m not sure if ISB has.



My Capstone: Using our voices to equalise China.

My Capstone documentary: “Equalise China”


I’ve learned that although it seems like the world has evolved towards gender equality a lot, there is still so much more steps to be taken to actually reach gender equality. I have improved my collaboration skills while working on my documentary film. Whether it be communicating with my partner about ideas or interviewing adults and students for information. I had to understand that during interviews we are taking away time from others, and it really helped me work on my attitude towards people when I’m asking them for a favor. I want next year’s grade 8 students to know that the research process is the MOST important step of the Capstone project. You’ll have a week of time to research and please use it wisely. I procrastinated a bit and was behind everyone, and I caught up pretty fast but I could’ve avoided the stressfulness. Researching information will be the base of your project, so keep your pace, don’t fall behind and you’ll be fine. Good luck!

Polymer Journal #4

Polymer Journal #3

Polymer Journal #3

Polyer Journal #1

MLA Works Cited:

“Monomer” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 20 Apr 2018.

“Polyester”  How Products Are Made. Advameg, n.d. Web. 20 Apr 2018.

“Polymer” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 20 Apr 2018.

“Polymerization” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 20 Apr 2018.

“Rayon” How Products Are Made. Advameg, n.d. Web. 20 Apr 2018.

One step closer to my Capstone: Gender Equality


An advertisement from the 50s portraying a gender stereotype based woman.


The global issue I would like to focus on for my capstone project is gender equality, specifically, female rights. I believe that both sexes should be treated equally both economically and socially. Something I learned from growing up is that females are mostly below men in society, and it really disappoints me.

A rough research question I came up for this issue is “How many Chinese women were unable to achieve their dream career because of the stereotypes their society had held for them?”. My edited research question is “What are the effects of gender stereotypes on Chinese women in the workforce”.

Even though I am mostly confident about my project, I still have some fears for this journey. I am conscious of the fact that not everyone agrees with the ideas of gender equality. Whilst the minds of Chinese people had been accepting the idea of gender equality gradually, some of the older generations still go against to it. I just hope they would listen to my voice.

I am hoping to gain a lot of things from this project. I really hope I could raise awareness to my society about how awful gender stereotypes are and their horrible consequences. I would really want to gain more knowledge about issues happening in our world because although I learned the concepts of all these issues, they still seem so far away from me because I haven’t been personally affected by it. This project would allow me to dive deep into a world issue I am really interested in, and expand my knowledge on it.

The ultimate message I want to send about this social issue is that everyone has to be aware of the fact of how many female geniuses the society has neglected and wasted because of foolish stereotypes. Only with an open-minded heart are we supposed to move forward into a brighter future. Those females all might have the solution to a lot of world issues we’re having, but first, we need to start by giving them a chance. Chinese women are secondary to men when it comes to applying for a job, earning a promotion. The discrimination of Chinese women starts when they’re in universities, being banned from applying for certain departments. Let females be more than a reproducing tool, let all of them be able to become a scientist, engineer, CEO, professor, doctor, and so much more.

I would like to receive feedback from my peers on how I could improve my research question and make it better.