Evaline Tsai, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Because the production of cement contributes to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, there is a need to find replacements for cement used in concrete manufacturing. This summer, I studied the interactions between fly ash, a promising secondary cementitious material (SCM), and air entraining agents (AEAs), useful additives that provide frost resistance to concrete, to determine the different performances of the AEAs, and to understand how the amalgamation of these different compounds affected each other. I made AEA/fly ash samples for later Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies, used optical microscopy to see how AEAs interacted with calcium, and operated thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to confirm the formation of air voids. This internship has allowed me to learn a lot more about the research process required in graduate school. Realizing the far-reaching effects each research project can have on saving the environment, I am determined to pursue certificates in Environmental Studies and/or Sustainable Energy at Princeton. I am now more excited than ever to continue conducting research during the coming summers.