Last week I told you all the topic of my research: an attachable hydraulic pump for a Basic Utility Vehicle. Now I'm getting into the research and I've realized that although it will be a pump, there will be a lot of components coming together to make it work. In the design will be a reservoir, pressure relief valve, hydraulic cylinder, breather vent, and of course the pump, among others. In order to size the pump and the system the graduate students in my lab have been teaching me to use MATLAB Simulink software. It’s a powerful tool and it’s awesome to be learning how to apply it during my research experience. I’m very grateful for the help I’m getting from the grad students as well as my professor’s flexibility, giving me time to learn a new tool.
As far as the research environment, I’ve found it is highly dependent on your professor. I had always thought of research as grueling, results driven and stressful. Although it can be just that, I've found that my professor cares just as much about learning useful skills and concepts as he does about the results of my project. It’s possible this is a rare case, but I suspect otherwise. Either way, it has definitely changed my perspective on the pace and atmosphere of the research world.