Organization was a skill that I learned most from this process. Although the skill is important in any other part of the IB, it is absolutely vital during the EE. From being able to organize your methodology to being organized when writing the essay itself, the ability to keep track of everything was extremely helpful. During the data collection, I learned a lot about the process of a chemistry experiment and various things to keep in mind while conducting and writing about it. For example, making sure that when testing your methodology, very accurate notes are taken about the experimental method to ensure that when altering the method in order to fit the requirements, there are not multiple variables that are being changed. This skill helped to ensure that once the final methodology was selected, the carrying out of the procedure would not be confusing or difficult. Finally, the ability to continue pushing through an experiment in the EE. Many times during the data collection, the trends desired would not appear and it could be quite disheartening. However, taking a step back and trying again helped to collect my thoughts and achieve results that were viable.
After a few months of work on my EE, I finally achieved a point in the research where my method was stable. This was done through a lot of decision making in order to fine-tune the process and ensure that the experiment would move smoothly. The pH values chosen were done so due to the knowledge from research papers. Since the coagulants only change behavior above and below the pH of 6, the pH values of 7 and 5 were chosen in order for enough to talk about as well as a more direct comparison. Concentration was also thought about extensively due to there being a chance that using a concentration that is too high would overdose the coagulation. Stirring by hand was also a sacrifice I had to make in order for my experiment to be completed quickly. A colorimeter was also chosen over the measuring cylinder for lower uncertainty.
When deciding on a topic, I was instantly drawn towards the process of water purification and the possible experiments that I could conduct. I always had an interest in the topic and the EE seemed like a good opportunity for me to explore the topic through a subject that I was passionate about. Originally, the plan for the experiment was to use alum and durian seed starch and compare the coagulation of each under different PH levels. Through further research, however, it was found that durian seed starch may not work as expected under the PH levels chosen as well as problems when measuring the turbidity of the solution (due to the fineness of the starch). The experiment may also utilize either a colourimeter or a spectrophotometer to see how effective coagulation was though this will have to be further experimented with in the future.