t-shirt chemistry

Tomorrow starts the new semester for me, and I finished my course prep (well, tomorrow’s activities anyway) so I figured I would celebrate with a little creativity. Not too long ago, I came across the activity where you can make a t-shirt iron on by drawing on sandpaper. I have sandpaper, some old t-shirts and I splurged on an 8-pack of crayons ($0.67 at Walmart) so I figured I would give it a go.

This year is all about the periodic table, so I wanted a periodic table design. One trend that I particularly like is the number of stable isotopes, which very clearly shows off my favorite element – technetium – because it is the lightest element without any stable isotopes. Technetium’s claim to fame is that it’s the first element to have been synthesized (in 1937) and therefore it is, in my opinion, the element of makers.

My first crayon iron t-shirt!
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Spooky droids

Knitted BB-8 and BB-9E are ready for some treats.

As you know, Rozenn has done a most excellent job at adding some fiber-art-droid-designs to my office decorations.  She also likes to make sure they are appropriately dressed for the season.  This year, BB-8 and BB-9E are ready for Trick-or-Treat with custom costumes (and matching candy bags).  Remember, if you let your droid go trick or treating, make sure they only get capacitors and ICs for treats; they are allergic to chocolate.

Periodic pillows

 

Rozenn had bought some awesome periodic table fabric (which I got for my birthday a few months back) and she finally had the time to complete a pair of periodic-table pillows for my office.  They are awesome.

There’s still plenty more fabric, so I suspect there will be another set for my home office as well.

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Mathematica catches the heat

I recently purchased the AMG8833 thermal camera breakout from Adafruit.  It’s an 8×8 pixel array of sensors that can be used to incorporate thermal vision into a project.  I’m interested in monitoring a thermoelectric cooler.  Adafruit provides a number of examples on how to interface the breakout with a Raspberry Pi or display connected to an Arduino.  I wanted to try a different interface and see if I could control it with Mathematica.  It took me longer to write this post than it did to write the software.

Temperature of 30×30 mm2 Peltier cooling device being measured with an AMG8833.

Read on if you’re interested in learning more

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What’s growing

Now that my students are wrapping up their summer research activities, it’s time to share some of my new designs.  This one is inspired by my students – they wanted to design and 3D print keychains – and Rozenn’s request to have name tags for our plants.

Rosemary, thyme and sage, with a bit of patriotism to boot.

Read on to see how I designed these, which involved a little bit of magic for the swash ornament.

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